Water sensitive urban design (WSUD) is the design of urban stormwater infrastructure to improve water quality in the environment.  WSUD devices, installations, vegetated swales (or drains), wetlands and raingardens can:

  • improve the quality of runoff / stormwater and ground water
  • improve the natural water cycle in catchments with urban development - gets water back into the ground
  • minimise demand on tap water supply through the installation of rain water tanks for gardens use
  • integrate water into the landscape (e.g. wetlands) to improve visual and ecological values
  • Support attractive green space and landscaping in urban areas by getting water into the ground, making it available for plants to use.

Many WSUD 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 wetland at Windermere Bay are 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 supporting Council planning processes, and 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.