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Water Sensitive Urban Design

Hood Street Detention Basin WSUDWhat is WSUD?
Water sensitive urban design (WSUD) is a multi-pronged approach to managing stormwater. It integrates land-use planning with water management. Using an holistic approach, WSUD aims to blend urban infrastructure with a site's natural features in a way that reduces negative impacts on the natural water cycle and protect the health of aquatic ecosystems.

WSUD Policy and Guideline
The impact of urbanisation on the water cycle and natural environment occurs as there is typically a large increase in impervious surfaces (eg roads, driveways, roofs). Stormwater which previously infiltrated the ground (vegetated areas) now collects and travels along the path of least resistance (traditional stormwater pipes and gutters) to a point of discharge (natural waterways). The water flow rate is increased, the level of pollutants high and the frequency of high pollutant concentration events is high (as smaller rain events which generate enough runoff to move settled pollutants from a site are frequent).

In order to protect and improve the quality of our waterways, Council has adopted WSUD to help manage these frequent, high polluting rainfall events that occur in our ever developing urban area.

Who does the Policy apply to?
WSUD applies to all developments of the following type;

  • Subdivision developments
  • Commercial Development
  • Industrial Development
  • Tourist Development
  • Public Buildings Single dwellings, dual occupancies, MUDs, alterations and additions

Where can I get information on the Policy?
Council advise that anyone lodging a development application to which WSUD applies read the policy and the WSUD Guideline.

External WSUD Resources
Healthy Waterways - Water By Design Southeast Queensland
WSUD in Sydney
FAWB Stormwater Biofiltration Systems Adoption Guidelines (2009)

NSW WSUD Technical Drawings

The drawings are to provide design guidance on key details; however they are not a stand-alone design resource and should be read in conjunction with other designated design guidelines (eg SEQ WBD guidelines and resources).
The drawings illustrate the key features of the treatment system, giving typical dimensions and specifications, but also showing where variation is possible.  Practitioners can vary the drawings to suit their own needs.
The typical drawings include the following and are intended for a technical audience (eg. Civil/Environmental Engineers and other design professionals):

  • Bioretention System – Flat Site;
  • Bioretention System - Steep Site;
  • Bioretention System – Footpath;
  • Bioretention System – Roadway;
  • Bioretention Details;
  • Bioretention Guideline Specifications;
  • Swale – Flat Site;
  • Swale – Steep Site;
  • Swales – Details.

The drawings can be accessed here.