Completed a comprehensive review and analysis of the draft metropolitan Water Supply Demand Strategy using the Systems Framework. This review contributed to the development of the business plan for the Office of Living Victoria
Led the development of the preliminary Melbourne Integrated Water Cycle Strategy (MIWCS). This draft strategy was submitted to the CEO of OLV and Minister for Water prior to Christmas 2012. The draft strategy was subsequently used as the starting point for the development of the Melbourne’s Water Future strategy.
A key contributor to strategy and systems analysis to the successful submission of the Melbourne’s Water Future strategy to the Victorian Cabinet.
Dr Peter Coombes from Urban Water Cycle Solutions is currently the Chief Scientist at the Office of Living Victoria (OLV). His key task is to provide robust, independent scientific and economic analysis to inform the evidence based role of OLV. A major element of this role is the use of world-leading Systems Framework that was developed over the last 20 years by Dr Coombes to provide insight into reform programs that deliver the optimum liveability and sustainability outcomes at a reasonable cost.
The Living Victoria Ministerial Advisory Council previously engaged Dr Peter Coombes to utilise his comprehensive water cycle systems framework of the Greater Melbourne region. The aim of the modelling framework was to determine whether different approaches to the way the water cycle is planned for and managed could result in significant benefits to the community and environment, as well as increase our resilience to future climate variability and other uncertain factors such as population growth, location and economic structure.
When OLV was established in 2011, Peter was appointed Chief Scientist. His role is to oversee the systems analysis and provide high-level expert advice to the Minister for Water and other Ministers of the Victorian Government on matters relating to water science, technology and innovation. A smart, resilient water system needs to be underpinned by robust, replicable systems analysis.
Integrated water cycle management (IWCM) is that basis of the Living Victoria policy. It is an evidence-based approach to using all available water resources – rainwater, stormwater and wastewater – in ways that best deliver liveable, sustainable and productive communities.
IWCM considers the entire water cycle and its drivers – hydrology, geography, topography, climate, location of community assets, economics and demography – rather than looking at individual components in isolation, or trying to find a ‘one size fits all’ solution. The science underpinning this approach is based on an innovative and world-leading Systems Framework that has taken more than 10 years to develop. The model simulates interactions between water supply systems and wastewater, and dynamically links this ‘coupled’ system to spatially varied lot and precinct scale water cycle simulations. This allows insight into the optimum places to intervene in the biophysical systems that support human settlements as shown in the Figure below.
Places to intervene in the system to produce optimum benefits – an example of synergistic opportunities revealed by the Systems Framework for improved use of assets, lifecycle costs, ecosystem services
In contrast to other approaches, the Systems Framework is better designed to facilitate an understanding of the influences of various localised water initiatives occurring at the lot or precinct scale, on the performance of a city’s entire water system. The method incorporates the demographic, socioeconomic and spatial variation of the greater Melbourne system. The approach combines the management of water resources with urban planning considerations.
This approach was first comprehensively articulated in the Living Victoria Ministerial Advisory Council Implementation Plan and has since been positively and publicly peer reviewed. A similar integrated systems analysis has already been used to guide Sydney Water Corporation in policies and strategies for enhanced financial and water cycle performance.