Benchmarkingand Best Practice

forUrban Waterway Management

ReportNo WSAA 87

January 1995





The Waterways Benchmarking and Best Practice Projectwas an attempt by Melbourne Parks and Waterways to apply benchmarkingtechniques to the field of waterway management. Project objectives were tocompare Melbourne Water’s waterway management activities to those of otherorganisations and identify ways to improve performance; to outline a method forbenchmarking management processes; and to compile a database of informationabout waterway management authorities and contracts around the world.


Initial investigation of Melbourne Water’sactivities enabled the choice of one key process, nonpoint source (NPS)pollution control, as the project’s focus. A world-wide search fororganisations involved in managing urban waterways was already under way, andeventually thirty-two organisations with responsibility for controlling NPSpollution of urban waterways agreed to participate. Information was collectedfrom twenty-eight of these organisations – the benchmark partners – using twoquestionnaires, visits and informal queries via facsimile and telephone.


By examining the practices used by the partners,areas in which Melbourne Water might be able to improve its performance wereidentified. These are the development of a NPS strategy; coordination of NPSactivity within the organisation and with councils; and collection of newinformation about NPS pollution and its control. Specific practices which mightbe used in Melbourne include better construction site controls; urbandevelopment which automatically incorporates good NPS controls; permeablepavements, and drain labelling. Other opportunities for learning from thepartners exist but were not fully investigated in this project.


This report includes information about theactivities of the partners, as well as several hundred sets of contact detailsfor individuals and organisations in water resources fields worldwide. It ishoped that this exercise will stimulate further productive exchange betweenwaterway management organisations.


Copiesof the Report are available from WSAA, price $A40. Orders may be placed throughthe Bookshop at or by email to