Urban rivers and riparian systems - Directions and recommendations for legislators, policy makers, developers and community users

Peter J. Davies, Christopher D. Ives, Sophia J. Findlay, Mark P. Taylor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This article examines the evolution of the current legal and planning system influencing urban rivers in New South Wales. A future direction for legislators and policy makers is presented as a means to improve the condition of urban waterways. Ensuring water management professionals appropriately value river systems is a key element. Waterways occupy a tenuous position in the urban landscape despite their ecological significance, often providing the last refuges for biodiversity. Smaller waterways are often piped to improve stormwater drainage, while larger systems are chemically, physically and biologically degraded as a result of development within the catchment. Legal, planning and policy arrangements have historically provided limited protection for urban waterways and riparian environments. This is due to four main factors: rivers are traditionally valued for their utility as conduits for stormwater to manage flooding; the biodiversity value of riparian areas is not widely understood and acknowledged; the cumulative impacts of develop- ment on river health are not recognised; and an inadequate legal definition for "river" in legislation and at common law. The fate of many urban riparian environments is often determined due to "death by a thousand pipes".

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)313-331
    Number of pages19
    JournalEnvironmental and Planning Law Journal
    Volume28
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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