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Abstract – What does an integrated approach look like? Case study: diffuse pollution in South East Queensland

Ruth Cottingham, Karen Franz Delfau, Pascal Garde - The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia; International WaterCentre, Level 16, 333 Ann Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000, Australia

Increasing water stress in South East Queensland (SEQ) is driving the need for good integrated water management in the region. Achieving a holistic understanding of how the management of water currently works here is challenging. 

The discussion explores the processes and results of developing conceptual frameworks and systems analyses models, based on work conducted in SEQ in 2010. A systems analysis conceptual framework was developed to illustrate how the different regional contextual factors relate to each other. 

It is suggested that the overlaps between these factors - rather than the factors in isolation - together with the exacerbating effect of other drivers, are key to understanding the way water is managed. Out of the framework, two key water management issues for SEQ were identified: the management of diffuse pollution and linked to this, the institutional structure as it relates to water quality in the region. 

A governance conceptual framework was developed, stemming from identification of the unintended consequences arising from the focus that the institutional framework currently has on achieving regional water security. The framework highlights potential ‘de-railing points’ where the institutional structure can fail, resulting in water quality degradation - or where interventions can be strategically targeted. 

Addressing catchment health requires an integrated approach to the biophysical, social, cultural, legal and institutional components of a system. The use of conceptual frameworks allows practitioners to recognise unquantifiable factors, to better understand the tensions acting within a system, and to identify the most effective intervention points to solve problems in a trans-disciplinary manner.



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