Professor Steven Kenway


Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
+61 7 336 54170


Steven is a scientist and manager with senior experience in research, industry, and government developed through roles with The University of Queensland, CSIRO, Brisbane Water, Sydney Water, and private consulting. He has worked with urban water, wastewater and stormwater, and related energy and greenhouse gas issues since 1990.

Steven is an international leader in quantifying the links between water, energy and carbon. He creates tools and models of all flows of water – and related energy into, out of, and within cities. Uniquely, he looks at cities as a “three-dimensional entity” and quantifies key issues such as (i) impacts of urban design and architecture, (ii) net zero water cycle, (iii) performance of hybrid, decentralised and integrated systems, (iv) water security and (v) urban design. Looking at cities this way shows how interconnected water and energy or flooding and water security really are. It helps to design better systems by reducing problem-shifting.

Steven’s work spans multiple disciplines including natural resources management and engineering and wider urban design, planning, economics, and governance. He has developed urban metabolism theory, including its links to integrated water management, circular economy and industrial ecology.

Steven’s work is enhancing performance benchmarking of cities, shaping development, guiding policy and infrastructure investment locally and internationally. He has authored over 115 peer-reviewed articles (over 200 total articles), including over 50 Scopus-listed articles to 2020.

Steven is a regular funded plenary and invited keynote presenter to peak international forums including: World Water Forum, World Water Congress, and World Water Week. He has secured over $7.2 million for his research area and delivered a range of significant international projects of high impact for the Water Research Foundation, Asian Development Bank, and CRC Water Sensitive Cities as outlined below.

Research Impacts

Steven has developed fresh new concepts in water-energy nexus and urban metabolism management. He has moved this into design outcomes, infrastructure plans, investment and international guidebooks for Renewable Energy Integration to Water and Wastewater Systems and Integrated Water and Energy Planning. He leads a Net Zero Water Cycle Energy use project – a new approach for urban water management which builds on his evaluating household water-energy links to create new options for cost-efficient systems. He has demonstrated how 9% of Australia’s energy use is influenced by urban water.

Steven has improved water and urban design. Since 2016, he leads a major integrating project (Water Sensitive Infill Development) for the CRC Water Sensitive Cities finding solutions to the challenge of urban infill development to overcome current urban development issues of flooding, increased heat and reduced security. Partnering with multiple stakeholders he has created new designs for urban precincts up to 10,000 people, demonstrating how cities can be more liveable, water-sensitive and energy-efficient.

Steven has influenced water security across Asia leading research for the Asian Development Bank. From 2015-2020 he has led the analysis of Urban Water Security (KD3) for the Asian Water Development Outlook - used in the Asia Pacific Water Forum, and by the United Nations. His methods have been adopted by government in a growing list of countries to guide national water investment including Thailand’s National Water Strategy.

Steven catalysed and led the creation of the Industrial Ecology Virtual Laboratory (IELab). This game-changing e-research infrastructure (~$4M value) has now been developed, based on the Australian model in the United States, China, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan and Sweden.

Steven has created high quality international training programs on Integrated Urban Water Management (WATR 7105) Management (Urban Water Engineering) for The University of Queensland. He has led “Urban Metabolism” course development for the International Water Centre and Griffith University since 2013 where he is an adjunct Associate Professor. He has led development of the multi-partner Urban Design Challenge (water and energy systems integration) at UQ since 2016, and its uptake by other universities.


  • Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honours), The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland


View all Publications


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Master Philosophy

  • (2021) Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision



Book Chapter

  • Kenway, Steven J., Lam, Ka Leung, Sochacka, Beata and Renouf, Marguerite A. (2019). Integrated urban water systems. Decarbonising the built environment. (pp. 287-304) edited by Peter Newton, Deo Prasad, Alistair Sproul and Stephen White. Singapore, Singapore: Springer Singapore. doi: 10.1007/978-981-13-7940-6_15

  • Kenway, Steven (2016). Urban metabolism and water smart systems. Smart Water Utilities: Complexity Made Simple. (pp. 289-290) edited by Pernille Ingildsen and Gustaf Olsson. London, United Kingdom: International Water Association. doi: 10.2166/9781780407586

  • Kenway, Steven J. and Lant, Paul A. (2015). How does energy efficiency affect urban water systems?. Understanding and managing urban water in transition. (pp. 615-631) edited by Quentin Grafton, Katherine A. Daniell, Céline Nauges, Jean-Daniel Rinaudo and Noel Wai Wah Chan. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-94-017-9801-3_28

  • Kenway, Steven (2015). Management of the urban energy-water nexus. Climate, energy and water: managing trade-offs, seizing opportunities. (pp. 141-154) edited by Jamie Pittock, Karen Hussey and Stephen Dovers. New York, NY, United States: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9781139248792.009

  • Kenway, Steven, Pamminger, Francis, Priestely, Anthony, Wolff, Gary, Gradner, Ted, Hermanowicz, Slav and Rosenblum, Eric (2013). Urban metabolism: a way to make Australian cities more efficient?. Made in Australia: the future Australian cities. (pp. 246-249) edited by Richard Weller and Julian Bolleter. Perth, WA, Australia: UWA Press.

  • Kenway, Steven. J. and Lant, P. (2012). The influence of water on urban energy use. Water sensitive cities. (pp. 63-80) edited by Carol Howe and Cynthia Mitchell. London, United Kingdom: IWA Publishing.

  • Kenway, S. J., Priestley, A., Cook, S., Gregory, A., Lovell, A. and Smith, N. (2009). Energy use in urban water. Climate change and water: international perspectives on mitigation and adaptation. (pp. 111-122) edited by Carol Howe, Joel B Smith and Jim Henderson. London, United Kingdom: International Water Association and American Water Works Association..

  • Kenway, Steven and Tjandraatmadja, Grace (2009). Technological innovation in the provision of sustainable urban water services. Technology, design and process innovation in the built environment. (pp. 267-289) edited by Peter Newton, Keith Hampson and Robin Drogemuller. Abion, Oxon, United Kingdom: Taylor & Fancis.

  • Kenway, Steven (2008). Urban water use. State of the Environment Queensland 2007. (pp. 320-326) edited by Julie Freeman and Wynne Webber. Brisbane, Austalia: The States of Queensland Environmental Protection Agency.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Edited Outputs

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision