Trust has generally been seen and analysed in the context of reducing risk and uncertainty, yet rarely with power. Power is everywhere, and therefore has an effect of producing trust (or distrust). Trust, however may also be considered a resource that can be mobilised in the exercise of yet other modalities of power. In this work, I attempt to build and test a conceptual model of the interactions of trust and power. This conceptual model that links trust and power through several feedback loops is being tested empirically through a case study on urban water planning and management on the Gold Coast, in Queensland, Australia. While this study deliberately concentrates on urban water, as there are high levels of trust necessary for the ‘politics of life’ (where something – water – is necessary for the sustenance of life), it can have widespread implications for other engagement practices in the environment, development, etc. This is of particular interest, as the type of trust (active trust) that is postulated to emerge from deliberative and possibly communicative dialogue in community engagement practices for urban and environmental planning and policy-making.