Operating Environment Scan

Worker inspecting a cable with blue lighting

The 2019 Operating Environment Scan increases the water industry’s awareness of social, technological, economic, environmental and political opportunities and risks that may impact the water industry, globally, and within Greater Melbourne. We encourage and drive our customers and stakeholders to use the Operating Environment Scan to plan their work and consider the impact of trends on their immediate and future work.

Current and emerging trends

The global environment is rapidly changing. Working to stay ahead of population growth, technology and climate change will require new, bolder approaches.

Five current and six emerging key global trends and their potential implications for the water industry have been identified as part of the 2019 Operating Environment Scan. These trends have been split into current and emerging categories to delineate between the big challenges currently affecting society, and emerging issues that are yet to be ubiquitous.

Current trends

Two workers walking past a site
  • Climate change
  • Urbanisation
  • Societal shifts
  • Technological innovation
  • Polarisation in democracy and de-globalisation

Emerging trends

  • Economic recession
  • Emerging contaminants and Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
  • Alternative energy sources
  • Ethical consumers and localisation
  • Blockchain technology
  • Political interest in the global commons.


Which trends are most likely to occur?  

Long shot of dam

The likelihood and consequence of the trends, as well as our preparedness to respond to them, were scored to determine their perceived level of impact on Melbourne Water in the next five years.

The three trends ranked as most likely to occur, with the biggest potential consequences, were climate change, urbanisation and societal shifts.

This is consistent with the 2018 Operating Environment Scan, which had the top three trends as accelerated growth, climate change and booming infrastructure.

Download the report

Melbourne Water is already working to meet these challenges, and is also using the Operating Environment Scan to consider what can be improved.

Download the report to find out more.


Last updated:
22 July 2020