Recent climate change adaptation plans in Australia call for appropriate risk management strategies for assets and services via implementation of enhanced disaster resilience strategies and policies to facilitate climate resilience across the community. This can be seen translated into a number of action plans such flood plain management plans, coastal adaptation pathways, city water plans and open space water management plans.

A review of the range of plans for City of Port Phillip in Melbourne reveals a host of possible measures such as large scale storm water detention, property level storm water retention, improvements to drainage systems, building of sea walls, reintroduction of water into the urban landscape, changes to building design, and opportunistic relocation or redesign of critical infrastructure.

In the City of Port Philip, individual households also resort to independent adaptation measures as the State is not responsible for reduction of impact of e.g. coastal hazard and sea level rise on private properties. Overall the range of actions comprises targeted interventions in particular sectors such as improvements to drainage systems, as well as opportunistic measures that arise out of periodic maintenance or renewal of municipal and private assets.

Further there are synergies between:
(i) disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation;
(ii) adaptation measures taken by the state and by the individual households;
(iii) adaptation measures taken across various sectors such as storm water management, open space management and others.

Although IWRM is mentioned along with WSUD, there are as yet no significant attempts to consider these approaches within an overall integrated strategy. In order to maximise efficiency and value, it will be important to ensure that a more integrated approach is taken, mainstreaming development and redevelopment opportunities for climate proofing and resilience measures.

Adaptation pathways provide an analytical approach for exploring and sequencing a set of possible actions that may be optionally switched in response to various drivers such as climate, land use, demographic and socio economic changes over time. There is scope for implementation of adaptation pathways in the City of Port Philip plans through integration and the many synergies.

In the first stage of IHE’s work, the exploratory adaptation pathways framework currently under development includes these synergies, generates adaptation pathways and helps to determine the value of the pathways based on overall costs and benefits. In case of City of Port Phillip the synergies between open space management plans, streetscape improvement plans, foreshore improvements, drainage improvement, periodic operation and maintenance of urban assets, urban planning controls such as special building overlays (SBOs) and individual household measures such as raising of floorboard levels are being identified and incorporated into these adaptation pathways.

Mohan Radhakrishnan
Carlos Salinas Rodríguez

Image by Noël via Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


RMIT University, Building 11, Level 2, Room 7


Tuesday 21 Jun  1:30pm to 2:30pm