Countries and cities are increasingly recognizing the value of adopting Sustainable Stormwater Management (SSWM) goals and measures. SSWM serves multiple hydrological, ecological, social and economic goals, and can replace substantial parts of conventional drainage infrastructure. Following international experience in the socio-technical nature of transitions in strormwater management, this research investigates how socio-institutional factors enable the transition from conventional to sustainable stormwater management over time. The research is based on analyzing available relevant documents, semi-structured interviews and focus groups, all in a single country case study (Israel). We found significant changes in professional awareness and discourse, some advances in professional standards of work and changes in the regulative system, supporting infiltration practices in particular. We concluded that the three-pillared socio-institutional framework, composed of cultural-cognitive, normative and regulative changes, was insightful for mapping factors supporting transition from conventional drainage to SWWM. Elements within the three pillars can work simultaneously and synergistically to achieve widespread change. At the same time, while SSWM always strives to achieve multiple goals, the order of priority of the various goals may differ from place to place and may change over time. Thus, changes within the socio-institutional pillars need to reiterate if and when the priority of goals changes. The urban and regional planning system can play a crucial role in enhancing the transition process from conventional to sustainable stormwater management. These conclusions may be relevant to other localities and countries that are struggling with such transitions to sustainability.
In recent decades, communities of planners and decision makers around the world and in Israel have come to realize that the transition from existing approaches to sustainable development requires a fundamental change in various planning approaches, including the approach to managing urban stormwater. Against this backdrop, various approaches have emerged for the sustainable management of urban stormwater, including Israel’s water sensitive planning (WSP).
The present work develops a tool – BGIS (Blue-Green Infrastructure Evaluation) – for evaluating the performances before and after the implementation of water-related landscape projects that combine measures to manage urban stormwater, in accordance with the water-sensitive planning approach. By using BGIE, decision makers, planners and stakeholders can evaluate a project’s success in achieving multiple goals.