exterior of building in marwal avenue

What is Water Sensitive Urban Design?

Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) is a sustainable way of managing urban water to reduce the environmental impact of development and to protect the natural hydrological regime. WSUD aims to:

  • protect and enhance our natural water systems such as the Yarra River, Gardiners Creek, Glass Creek and Back Creek
  • reduce flood risk and divert water from stormwater through on-site water storage, maximising areas where water can enter the ground and using water more efficiently
  • reduce demand for potable water from our dams
  • improve the quality of water discharged from urban development into the ground and environment
  • prevent erosion
  • enhance aesthetic and recreational opportunities.

Some of the WSUD objectives and methods include:

Water conservation: reducing and reuse of water by mulching; using drought tolerant plants; reducing areas of lawn; designing water efficient irrigation systems (e.g. dripper rather than spray irrigation); designing non-irrigated landscapes; incorporating permeable / porous pavements; directing water towards garden beds; installing rain water tanks to capture roof water for irrigation or toilet flushing.

Stormwater Management: storing water on site, maximising areas where water can enter the ground and improving the quality of water discharged into the stormwater system and local water courses. This may be achieved by incorporating storm water quality treatment infrastructure such as rain gardens (bioretention swales and bioretention basins); vegetated swales; sand filters; infiltration systems; rooftop gardens; wetlands and sediment basins on larger sites; and minimising the use of pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilisers.

Learn more about WSUD at Melbourne Water.