Water and Land Management Innovation & Sustainability Enhancement Partnership in Peri-urban Research


Water and Land Management Innovation & Sustainability Enhancement Partnership in Peri-urban Research

Wiser banner featuring irrigation, hosing and green space

Peri-urban regions, located at the periphery of metropolitan and regional centres, are a transitory frontier between urban expansion and rural land.  Around 4 million Australians reside in peri-urban regions, which are Australia's fastest growth areas. The sustainable management of water and land use in these fast-growing areas is critical for security of urban water supplies, local food production and overall livability of cities and regional towns.

The key drivers of peri-urban regions are: (a) changing land use due to urbanisation, (b) increased pressure on water supplies and agricultural lands, (c) decline in river health and (d) climate change. 

The increase in hard surfaces due to urbanisation tend to increase ambient air temperature, called 'heat island' effect, and thus increase energy use for cooling and water use by plants urban and peri-urban areas. Unless we understand and address the issues and challenges of peri-urban planning with a longer term view (20 – 30 year horizon), we face uncertain future in terms of producing fresh food locally, keeping rivers, environment, economy and people healthy and the overall livability of cities and regional towns.

Regional sustainability is strongly linked with the way we plan, design and manage water and land in future growth areas. Without secured water supplies and balanced land use, we risk:

  • Future growth and livability of cities and towns,
  • The health of local river systems,
  • Fresh vegetable and fruit supplies from peri-urban areas,
  • Suitable open space for sport/leisure activities, community health, and quality of life,
  • Gardening and associated enjoyment/health benefits, particularly for the elderly,
  • Water dependent businesses and commercial fishing, and
  • Local tourism including recreational fishing.

Using selected developing peri-urban regions across Australia as the 'peri-urban laboratory', the WISER Network is passionate about addressing vital water and land use challenges and achieving integrated management of regional water and land resources. The Network is developing tools, processes and engagement strategies for on-ground actions and practical outcomes.