Planning for the Lower Hunter
Planning for the lower Hunter
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Community engagement

Workshops with the community and stakeholders, along with online engagement, provided valuable input as the Lower Hunter Water Plan was developed. The engagement process covered community values about water planning, a wide range of supply and demand options under consideration, and the cost, drought security and environmental trade-offs among potential portfolios (or mixes of measures) for the plan.

Four sets of workshops were held between December 2012 and September 2013 to:

  • identify the values that are most important to the community about water planning
  • share information on the supply - demand balance
  • discuss the options being considered for the plan
  • understand community perspectives on the trade-offs among cost, environmental features and drought security for six potential portfolios (or combinations of options)

In addition to the overarching value of ‘a process we can trust’, the community values developed through the workshops were:

  • sustainable solutions and water conservation
  • a fair and affordable system
  • safe, healthy water for all uses
  • protecting the natural environment           
  • a secure, reliable supply for all
  • a strategic, balanced and adaptable plan
  • investing dollars wisely
  • respecting the Aboriginal cultural value of ‘life water’

To support an open and transparent planning process, participants were advised at each workshop how their input would be used, and the consolidated feedback from each set of workshops was reported back to the next set of workshops. This process helped to validate the feedback and, where necessary, modify how it was recorded to ensure it was a true reflection of the community feedback (for example, the list of community values was reviewed and modified at subsequent workshops). This process also demonstrated that participants at different workshops expressed a range of views and that all these views were important and being heard.

Importantly, the activities at each set of workshops were designed to integrate with the planning framework, by providing data to incorporate in the decision-making process.

Click here to watch a short video about community perspectives on the Lower Hunter Water Plan.

For more information about community engagement for the Lower Hunter Water Plan read Engaging the community in developing the Lower Hunter Water Plan

For more information about the decision-making process for the Lower Hunter Water Plan read Building the Lower Hunter Water Plan - A discussion paper