Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Manage. 2008 Feb;41(2):221-33.

Local institutional development and organizational change for advancing sustainable urban water futures.

Author information

National Urban Water Governance Program, School of Geography and Environmental Science, Monash University, 11a, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia.


This paper presents the local institutional and organizational development insights from a five-year ongoing interdisciplinary research project focused on advancing the implementation of sustainable urban water management. While it is broadly acknowledged that the inertia associated with administrative systems is possibly the most significant obstacle to advancing sustainable urban water management, contemporary research still largely prioritizes investigations at the technological level. This research is explicitly concerned with critically informing the design of methodologies for mobilizing and overcoming the administrative inertia of traditional urban water management practice. The results of fourteen in-depth case studies of local government organizations across Metropolitan Sydney primarily reveal that (i) the political institutionalization of environmental concern and (ii) the commitment to local leadership and organizational learning are key corporate attributes for enabling sustainable management. A typology of five organizational development phases has been proposed as both a heuristic and capacity benchmarking tool for urban water strategists, policy makers, and decision makers that are focused on improving the level of local implementation of sustainable urban water management activity. While this investigation has focused on local government, these findings do provide guideposts for assessing the development needs of future capacity building programs across a range of different institutional contexts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center