The health benefits of investing in urban water initiatives is now quantifiable, according to new research from Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA).
While the water industry is known for providing high quality drinking water and wastewater services, many are not aware of the larger role the industry has to play in the liveability of our communities.
WSAA engaged Frontier Economics to assist in understanding and quantifying the liveability associated health benefits of water industry investments to better inform investment decisions.
Clean water is fundamental to public health. But investing in urban water to create liveable cities improves health through four pathways:
- Improvements in health resulting from more active recreation
- Improvements in mental health resulting from more exposure to green space
- Improvements in health resulting from reduced temperatures associated with the Urban Heat Island effect
- Improvements in health resulting from lower air pollution
With unprecedented growth in our major cities the case studies show that investing in water in major greenfield developments will have benefits across all four pathways.
A ready reckoner tool has also been developed to assist the water industry in making quick appraisals as to whether a project may deliver quantifiable health benefits under the four pathways. This is supported by three hypothetical case studies.
The water industry brings a strong understanding of the value that water and sewerage services can bring to the liveability of a community.
The paper aims to bring a holistic understanding of how water links to health, urban planning, prosperity and social connectedness.
View the research report here.