Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD)

Water sensitive urban design

In the past urban runoff was managed solely for flood mitigation, i.e. preventing damage to property and risk to human life from flooding.

Over the past two decades, a growing understanding of adverse impacts from this approach has lead to the development of innovative management techniques including Water Sensitive Urban Design, which is fast becoming best practice for urban development across Australia.

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.

The rain garden at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, the Kingston Stormwater Wetlands and the Univeristy of Tasmania rain garden 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:

Seal pup

Restoring and promoting the Derwent estuary