The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) has published a report prepared by Frontier Economics, Health Benefits from Water-Centric Liveable Communities. This landmark report looks at understanding and quantifying the liveability-associated health benefits of water industry investments to better inform investment decisions.

The challenges posed by urban development are complex, and as we shift away from traditional development patterns, decisions about water are critical. Good decisions can transform urban areas into cooler, greener and liveable spaces.  Bad decisions are costly, far-reaching, and locked in for generations.

Addressing these challenges requires critical decisions to be made about how we use land and other resources, including decisions around housing, infrastructure corridors, environment and our waterways; and evaluate and value potential investments in grey, green and blue infrastructure. Appropriate policy enables community resilience to pressures such as population change, climate and drought.

This project aimed to understand, quantify, and crucially, monetise, the contribution of water investments within real world project evaluations. Our work shows that investing appropriately in water infrastructure has benefits for the community. Water investments can improve health to create more liveable cities through four pathways:

  • Improvements in health resulting from more active recreation
  • Improvements in mental health resulting from more exposure to green space
  • Improvements in health resulting from reduced temperatures associated with the Urban Heat Island effect
  • Improvements in health resulting from lower air pollution.

The Urban Economics team at Frontier Economics has been advising clients on a range of projects at policy and implementation level addressing challenges particular to our urban environment.

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