Water sensitive urban design (WSUD) is the design of urban water infrastructure to minimise impacts on ecosystems while maximising efficient water use by

  • protecting the water quality of surface and ground waters,
  • maintaining the natural hydrologic behaviour of catchments,
  • protecting natural features and ecological processes,
  • minimising demand on potable water supply systems e.g. through the installation of rain water tanks for gardens,
  • integrating water into the landscape (e.g. wetlands) to enhance visual and ecological values,
  • collecting treating and/or reusing runoff, including roof water and other stormwater,
  • reusing treated effluent to reduce wastewater generation, and
  • Creating attractive green space and landscaping in urban areas.

During the past decade, over 20 stormwater projects have been constructed in the Derwent estuary region, including biofiltration systems, rain gardens, vegetated swales and wetland systems. The rain gardens at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and University of Tasmania, the Kingston stormwater wetlands, and the passive stormwater treatment wetlands at Windermere Bay and Whitewater Creek are excellent examples of WSUD in action and its benefits.

The Derwent Estuary Program promotes the uptake of water sensitive urban design to improve stormwater management by providing resources to assist in the planning, design and construction of WSUD elements. These include water sensitive urban design procedures for stormwater management, and water sensitive urban design fact sheets.