In a time of climate uncertainty and drought in Australia, improved urban stormwater quality management practices are required not only for protecting waterway health, but also as a fit-for-purpose supply source. To conceive of urban stormwater as an environmental threat as well as a water supply source requires a substantial shift in our traditional linear supply and wastewater structures towards more hybrid and complex infrastructure systems. To understand what drives and limits treatment technology adoption for stormwater management, over 800 urban water professionals in three Australian capital cities completed an online questionnaire survey in November 2006. Using the conceptual framework of receptivity assessment, the results revealed the professional community to be highly associated with the importance of improving stormwater quality for receiving waterway health, yet they do not consider that politicians share this perspective by placing a substantially lower level of importance on stormwater quality management. Significant acquisition barriers within each city, including institutional arrangements, costs, responsibilities, and regulations and approvals processes were all identified as constraining more sustainable practices. Capacity building programs, fostering greater socio-political capital and developing key demonstration projects with training events are recommended as useful policy interventions for addressing current institutional impediments.

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