Special Issue "Systems Thinking and Urban Water Cycle Management"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Urban Water Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 July 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Peter J Coombes
Website
Guest Editor
Urban Water Cycle Solutions, Carrington, New South Wales, Australia
Interests: systems analysis; engineering; economics; environmental science; water resources; government policy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Equitable social, economic and environmental management of water resources and ecosystem services is central to planning for a world challenged by population growth and an increasingly variable climate. The evolution of urban areas to accommodate growing populations and in response to economic development results in profound changes to the natural water cycle and creates a modified urban water cycle. These changes to water cycle behaviour are driven from the local scale where water is demanded, sewerage is generated and impervious surfaces increase the rate and volume of stormwater runoff. The increasing area and density of cities drives higher costs for water cycle services, and increasing cumulative risk of water shortages, flooding and degradation of waterways. Although the impacts of local changes are experienced at multiple scales and accumulate across linked systems, approaches to governance, management and solutions for water cycle management are often applied as separate centralised processes.

The development of a robust understanding of the nonlinear interactions of all water streams with our urban settings and ecosystems is vital to realising our visions and plans to build sustainable and resilient cities into the future. These human and linked earth systems generate trade-offs in response to proposed interventions that may only be revealed using systems thinking and models of system dynamics. Systems thinkers such as Forrester and Meadows demonstrated that small changes in a system’s components, such as human behaviour, urban form, climate or government policy, can generate unforeseen and substantial changes across an entire system. Solutions derived from a simple deterministic analysis that only consider part of a system or that employ global average assumptions can lead to unexpected and adverse outcomes across society. Conversely, innovative and small scale policy or structural interventions can create substantial beneficial outcomes that are not apparent using linear average engineering and economic analysis. This Special Issue seeks to foster discussions about systems thinking and urban water cycle management.

Dr. Peter J Coombes
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Systems thinking
  • Urban water cycle managment
  • Water security
  • Stormwater management
  • Dynamic economics
  • Ecosystem services
  • Infrastructure
  • Government policy
  • Pollution control
  • Climate change
  • Urban footprint
  • Water-sensitive urban design
  • Sustainable urban drainage
  • Low impact development
  • Integrated water management
  • Multiple objective planning
  • Optimisation

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Freshwater Quality of a Large-Scale Mining Watershed: The Need for Integrated Approaches
Water 2019, 11(9), 1797; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091797 - 29 Aug 2019
Abstract
Water quality assessments provide essential information for protecting aquatic habitats and stakeholders downstream of mining sites. Moreover, mining companies must comply with environmental quality standards and include public participation in water quality monitoring (WQM) practices. However, overarching challenges beyond corporate environmental responsibility are [...] Read more.
Water quality assessments provide essential information for protecting aquatic habitats and stakeholders downstream of mining sites. Moreover, mining companies must comply with environmental quality standards and include public participation in water quality monitoring (WQM) practices. However, overarching challenges beyond corporate environmental responsibility are the scientific soundness, political relevance and harmonization of WQM practices. In this study, a mountainous watershed supporting large-scale gold mining in the headwaters, besides urban and agricultural landuses at lower altitudes, is assessed in the dry season. Conventional physicochemical and biological (Biological Monitoring Water Party-Colombia index) freshwater quality parameters were evaluated, including hydromorphological and land-use characteristics. According to the indicators used, water quality deterioration by mining was absent, in contrast to the effects of urban economic activities, hydromorphological alterations and (less important) agricultural pollutants. We argue that mining impacts are hardly captured due to the limited ecological knowledge of high-mountain freshwaters, including uncharacterized mining-specific bioindicators, environmental baselines and groundwater processes, as well as ecotoxicological and microbial freshwater quality components. Lessons for overcoming scientific and operational challenges are drawn from joint efforts among governments, academia and green economy competitiveness. Facing a rapid development of extractive industries, interinstitutional and multidisciplinary collaborations are urgently needed to implement more integrated freshwater quality indicators of complex mining impacts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Thinking and Urban Water Cycle Management)
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Open AccessArticle
The Significance of Groundwater Flow Modeling Study for Simulation of Opencast Mine Dewatering, Flooding, and the Environmental Impact
Water 2019, 11(4), 848; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040848 - 23 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Simulations of open pit mines dewatering, their flooding, and environmental impact assessment are performed using groundwater flow models. They must take into consideration both regional groundwater conditions and the specificity of mine dewatering operations. This method has been used to a great extent [...] Read more.
Simulations of open pit mines dewatering, their flooding, and environmental impact assessment are performed using groundwater flow models. They must take into consideration both regional groundwater conditions and the specificity of mine dewatering operations. This method has been used to a great extent in Polish opencast mines since the 1970s. However, the use of numerical models in mining hydrogeology has certain limitations resulting from existing uncertainties as to the assumed hydrogeological parameters and boundary conditions. They include shortcomings in the identification of hydrogeological conditions, cyclic changes of precipitation and evaporation, changes resulting from land management due to mining activity, changes in mining work schedules, and post-mining void flooding. Even though groundwater flow models used in mining hydrogeology have numerous limitations, they still provide the most comprehensive information concerning the mine dewatering and flooding processes and their influence on the environment. However, they will always require periodical verification based on new information on the actual response of the aquifer system to the mine drainage and the actual climate conditions, as well as up-to-date schedules of deposit extraction and mine closure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Thinking and Urban Water Cycle Management)
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