Water sensitive urban design

Water sensitive urban design promotes the sustainable use, re use and management of water in the places we live, work and play. This design approach integrates the total water cycle and water from all sources, including rainwater, storm water, groundwater, mains water and waste water, into urban development and building.

Water sensitive urban design can be applied to residential, commercial and industrial developments and buildings, at the scale of a single house, to a single street, to a suburb, up to a whole city. Techniques range from the storage, treatment and use of runoff, to water-efficient landscaping. Water sensitive urban design can help communities achieve greater water sustainability and create more pleasant places to live, work and play.

Water sensitive urban design is strongly linked to green infrastructure, the network of green spaces and water systems, like parks, gardens and creeks, which makes our urban places liveable.

What has been achieved?

The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board encourages water sensitive urban design (WSUD) in the region by providing funding and the expertise of Natural Resources staff to support policy, projects, research and capacity building.

On a state level, staff have been involved in the development of the new South Australian WSUD policy, and research by the Goyder Institute for Water Research into this design approach as part of urban water management. In addition the board has been a long-time supporter of the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities and the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources’ Green Infrastructure Project.

Local government activities include supporting the City of Unley in a WSUD reconstruction of Wattle Street, Fullarton, the City of Mitcham with trials of permeable paving and street trees in East Parade, Kingswood, and the City of Adelaide in constructing biofiltration basins to treat stormwater at Kurrangga/Park 20, Peacock Road, Adelaide.

Water Sensitive SA

Water Sensitive SA is South Australia's own water sensitive urban design capacity building program. Water Sensitive SA provides support to stakeholders across all disciplines in the development and water management industries to achieve the best outcomes.

Water Sensitive SA is strongly supported by the board and a committed group of funding partners from local governments, state government and industry. Water Sensitive SA was launched in 2015 following three years of work defining the capacity-building needs of stakeholders, designing the program, and building support.

What next?

The board continues to invest in water sensitive urban design policy, projects, research and capacity building. Natural Resources staff are working with the City of Charles Sturt to investigate options in Flinders Park; the City of Unley on its Leader Street upgrade, the City of Mitcham for city-wide implementation of WSUD, and the City of Marion to build a new wetland in Waterfall Creek. With assistance from the Environment Protection Authority through the Australian Government-funded Catchment to Coast project, Natural Resources staff are developing an above-ground raingarden to be located at The Joinery, to show how these attractive garden beds can clean up our stormwater. 

Related links

Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges