Decentralised systems have the potential to provide a viable option for long term sustainable management of household wastewater. Yet, at present, such systems hold an uncertain status and are frequently omitted from consideration. Their potential can only be realised with improved approaches to their management, and improved methods to decision-making in planning of wastewater systems. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the value of a novel framework to guide the planning of decentralised systems so that asset management and risk management are explicitly considered. The framework was developed through a detailed synthesis of literature and practice in the area of asset management of centralised water and wastewater systems, and risk management in the context of decentralised systems. Key aspects of the framework are attention to socio-economic risks as well as engineering, public health and ecological risks, the central place of communication with multiple stakeholders and establishing a shared asset information system. A case study is used to demonstrate how the framework can guide a different approach and lead to different, more sustainable outcomes, by explicitly considering the needs and perspectives of homeowners, water authorities, relevant government agencies and society as a whole.

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