Community deliberative forums

Hunter Water is working with our government partners, key stakeholders and the community now to review the Lower Hunter Water Plan (LHWP) to ensure our region has a sustainable and resilient water system that can adapt and respond to change.

In late 2018, we hosted two deliberative forums with our community to talk about water and what’s important to them in long-term water planning.

Understanding our community values, attitudes and preferences is fundamental to our long-term planning.

With 140 members of our community, we explored:

  • water literacy in the community
  • community values and aspirations, to inform goals and objectives of Water Resilience Programs and future trade-offs that may be required
  • attitudes on levels of service including the frequency, duration and severity of restrictions

The majority of participants were randomly selected, recruited through stratified sampling across forum locations with quotas set on age and gender. Seven interest-based stakeholders were also recruited through Hunter Water’s Customer and Community Advisory Group.

Discussions were led by the community participants, without any insight into the work already undertaken for the Water Resilience Program, ensuring independence and integrity of the process. Table discussions and activities were facilitated to understand community values in relation to long term water planning.

The community identified the following key community values:

  • Quality referred to the quality of water supplied by Hunter Water and was the most important value overall. Ensuring water was safe and free from contaminants was frequently mentioned.
  • Sustainability and environment were closely linked themes. Our community want reassurance that natural resources will be used sustainably, and environmental impacts will be considered.
  • Reliability and future proofing referred to ensuring there was sufficient water for the community now and in the future, particularly in light of population growth and climate change. Ensuring we did not run out of water during drought was considered important.

Following these forums, we tested these community values our broader customer base, community and stakeholders through events, workshops and forums. We continue to work with our community to develop a long term plan to secure our water future.

Planning our water future

We are working with our government partners, key stakeholders and community now to ensure we have enough water now and for the future. Help shape our region's water future.