This paper addresses the philosophical question: 'why rehabilitate urban river systems?' within an Australian context. Rehabilitation of river systems has become an important objective of many local, state and national governments around the world, who allocate substantial investment into various river projects. An understanding of the various factors influencing stream condition and potential rehabilitation options is essential in order to determine how the process is undertaken, and how success is measured. This paper examines the triple bottom line (economic, social and environmental) factors that influence decisionmaking with respect to urban stream rehabilitation and management and considers their relative value and importance.