Featured artist: Shannon Crees

Water Sensitive Urban Design

Featured artist: Shannon Crees
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Environment

Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD)

Free workshops

Council runs the Water Sensitive Urban Design Workshop Series twice a year. Visit this page for workshop dates and details.

What is Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD)?

In the past, urban stormwater drrainage systems were designed mainly to prevent flooding by transporting stormwater run-off as quickly as possible into the nearest natural waterway.

Stormwater run-off carries with it a range of pollutants – including litter, garden fertilizers, animal faeces, silt, vegetation, and pollutants from sewer outflows and vehicles. This puts great stress on the waterway resulting in algal blooms, ecosystem breakdown and polluted rivers and beaches.

Many people want to use local waterways for recreation, such as swimming in the Cooks River.

Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) is most simply defined as the sustainable management of water within urban areas through intelligent and integrated design. It looks at the urban water cycle as a whole, taking into account three water sources readily available in urban areas:

  • potable water – drinking water,
  • wastewater – water that has been used forwashing or flushing, and
  • stormwater – water run-off from hard surfaces including roads, paths and roofs.

The aims of water sensitive urban design are to:

  • reduce run-off flows while minimising on-site flood risk;
  • reduce potable water use through the use of efficient fixtures and appliances and through rainwater, stormwater and greywater reuse;
  • minimise wastewater generation, treating wastewater to a standard suitable for reuse and/or discharge to receiving waters;
  • protect natural systems by treating stormwater before discharge to receiving waters; and
  • integrate stormwater treatment into the landscape to enhance the recreational and aesthetic quality of the urban environment.

WSUD in Marrickville

Council is incorporating Water Sensitive Urban Design right across the local area through subcatchment management planning and Council's Strategy for a Water Sensitive Community. Here are some of Council's WSUD projects already installed.

Tempe Lands wetlands
Tempe Lands wetlands

Hill Street rain garden, Marrickville
Hill Street rain garden, Marrickville

Tennyson Street rain garden, Marrickville
Tennyson Street rain garden, Marrickville

Thornley Street rain garden, Marrickville
Thornley Street rain garden, Marrickville

Living Lane program, Wilford Lane, Newtown
Living Lane program, Wilford Lane, Newtown

Permeable car park, Tom Foster Community Centre, Newtown
Permeable car park, Tom Foster Community Centre, Newtown

 
What can I do on my property?

Council works with community on supporting WSUD solutions on private property. These are some of the things you can do:

  • Capture water before it leaves your property from rooftops and hard surfaces using rainwater tanks, swales and rain gardens.
  • Slow the flow of stormwater through smart landscape design, placing garden beds on contour for passive irrigation.
  • Implement landscaping and drainage elements that ensure sediments, leaves, grass clippings and nutrients no longer leave your property. Barrier plantings are one way of achieving this. 
  • Reduce or eliminate the use of water soluble fertilisers on your property as these cause algal blooms in waterways.
  • Plumb rainwater into toilet and laundry to reduce potable water use.
  • Where paving is necessary choose permeable options.

Here are some recent community WSUD projects:

Rain garden, Gould Avenue, Lewisham
Rain garden, Gould Avenue, Lewisham

Rain garden, Crawford Place, Marrickville
Rain garden, Crawford Place, Marrickville

Rain garden, Tom Foster Community Centre, Newtown
Rain garden, Tom Foster Community Centre, Newtown

Rain garden, Gladstone Street, Newtown
Rain garden, Gladstone Street, Newtown

 
For more information on Water Sensitive Urban Design contact Council's Water and Catchments Coordinator or phone 9335 2104.

Rain Garden Design Manual

Council has published a design manual to integrate rain gardens and WSUD facilities as the standard design approach to stormwater management and treatment.

The primary target audience for this manual is design staff and consultants directly involved in the detailed design process for rain gardens – such as stormwater and drainage engineers, civil engineers and landscape architects. It may also be useful for a broader audience looking for guidance or details about how rain gardens may impact on their work.

Resources