Understanding barrier interactions to support the implementation of sustainable urban water management

Ines Winz*, Sam Trowsdale, Gary Brierley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The prevalence of barriers to the implementation of alternative and more integrated approaches to urban water management has been observed by many researchers and managers. This study analyses the interconnected nature of these barriers using a combination of interpretive structural modelling and systems thinking methods. Based on empirical data from an urban case study catchment this study shows that barriers not only reinforce each other, but also create persistent self-reinforcing effects within a barrier interaction network. Evidence of feedback structures was primarily found in the institutional and logistical management areas. These systemic feedback structures create resistance to the implementation of alternative urban water management strategies resulting in the status quo. Knowledge of barrier interactions provides a rational basis for targeted and prioritized management interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-505
Number of pages9
JournalUrban Water Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • community-based resource management
  • interpretive structural modelling
  • low impact design
  • resistance to change
  • systemic feedback
  • systems thinking


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