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1. Please complete a Term paper describing various aspects of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD), and its role in sustainable use of Water in dry climates like Australia .

2. Provide description of various aspects related to WSUD, and critically evaluate any two real-life examples of Water Sensitive Urban Design concept as application in Australia.

3.Criteria for marking: professional presentation (should have sections like: Introduction, Summary/Conclusions, Case studies of application in Australia (at least 2), Critical assessment of the importance of WSUD for sustainable water use etc.).

Introducing Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD)

It is known to us that our planet, countries, towns and villages are having long term relation with water. In fact humans are often found situated nearby water resources. But to human activates, a rapid climate change can be seen in present world. In present time, countries like Australia are continuously suffering from low ground water. In this situation, humans are not only in need of pure water but a well-managed water design in order to create a safe haven in situation like water shortage especially in urban areas (Liu et al., 2016). As per the study, it has been found that technology as well as design related to water sensitive urban design was evolved in year 1992 in the form of demonstrating various innovative projects with scale range. At present various researches are going on related to this important concept especially in countries like Australia which is continuously struggling from ground water and are trying to innovative design to lower down the cost related to this water sensitive urban design (Kuller et al., 2018).  This report is focused on various aspects of water sensitive urban design and its role in the sustainable use of water in dry climate like Australia. In addition, it is also covering two real life example of water sensitive urban design in Australia and its related concepts. This water sensitive urban design has gone through various challenges such as technology and cost, acceptance from community and frame work.

WSUD is known method of managing water especially in urban areas where environment protection is of great importance.  In Australia, WSUD is considered an approach which minimizes negative influence of development by maximizes monetary, community and environment welfares. WSUD helps in delivering more valuable towns by offering green space, flood risk management, minimizing impact of urban temperature, reducing pollutant towards coastal areas. In simple words it can be said that water sensitive urban design in Australia is to minimize wants related to expensive infrastructure enhancements (Lottering, Du Plessis & Donaldson, 2015). Country like Australia is completely focusing on construction and maintenance framework which is considered as one of the most important concept of water sensitive urban design from design point of view. Australia government is well aware about their territorial land and therefore is focusing on various reforms related to water cycle management with the help of water sensitive urban design (Razzaghmanesh, Beecham & Salemi, 2016). Although, large portion of this area is under research but still Australian government has put their best effort in cities like New South Wales, Queensland and Sydney.

Importance of WSUD in Australia

Australia is having a population density of three people per kilometer square. But at the same time it is highly built-up with around 66% of its population mainly living in six states. It has been found that population density of Australia is still low as compared to world standards. New South Wales is having 1600 while Sydney is having 2000. Water planning is always considered as responsibility of state government or local government (Schirmer & Dyer, 2018). Australia is not having a combine frame of storm water and sewage system and therefore they are dependent on water sensitive urban design. Although flooding occurrence is very rare in Australia, but still Australia government has adopted water sensitive urban design guideline in their planning legislation. Recently Queensland and Victoria faced flood and at that time Water sensitive urban development has shown its significance by combining urban water in an urban context (Kazemi, Golzarian & Myers, 2018).). Australian authorities has already introduced strong water sensitive urban development policies and schemes in various states but there are still some states which are offering great opportunity related to this approach especially South Australia.

Water sensitive urban design was introduced in 2009 through national guidelines which were focused on treating storm and sewage water by integrating them with urban water phase. The main motive behind water sensitive urban design was to provide environment protection by reducing the level of present solids like nitrogen and other pollutants. This concept was first support by Queensland through healthy land and water program in a collaborative effort by government and research parties (Beale et al., 2018). All states has not made WSUD mandatory in their legislation but still use major portion of WSUD principles in building and sustainability index related to annual consumption. Australian principles related to WSUD is offered strength with the help of cooperative research Centre for water especially for cities which are water sensitive by carrying out six step procedure (Sharma et al., 2012). Although water sensitive urban design is recognized all over the Australia but its modules priorities vary from state to state depending on the sensitivity of the environment.

In Australia role of water sensitive urban design is to manage controls related to erosion and sediment on developing sites with the help of vegetated system instead of concrete pipes and channels. In Victoria, this water sensitive urban design provides protection to water ways by encompassing aquatic ecosystems and connects them with wildlife and water based recreation such as agriculture, harvesting of fish, potable water supply as well as industries (Darmawan et al., 2019).  While in New South Wales, water sensitive urban design offers service by offset storm water from the developed areas. Water sensitive urban design in Australia provides protection to ecosystem by minimizing treated water discharge towards environment. In addition, water sensitive urban design also plays important role in increasing rain water and storm water harvesting by making use of aquifer recharge procedure.

Real-life Examples of WSUD in Australia

Ecologically Sustainable Development in Australia can be described as going beyond the

protection of the environment from the impacts of pollution, to protecting and conserving

natural resources.  In an urban environmental context this means urban development (both

greenfield development and urban renewal) that seeks to have no long term effects on various

aspects of the environment related to aspects such as greenhouse gas levels, material

resources, biodiversity and ambient water environments. Water environments, such as

waterways and coastal waters, and water supply catchments are key areas where urban

development can have significant impacts.  Water Sensitive Urban Design in Australia has

evolved from its early association with stormwater management to provide a broader

framework for sustainable urban water management.  It provides a common and unified

method for integrating the interactions between the urban built form (including urban

landscapes) and the urban water cycle.  This paper presents an overview of current industry

practice and research implementation of Water Sensitive Urban Design in Australia

WSUD in Australia can be described as ecologically sustainable development which is focused beyond environment protection by including impact of pollution, conversation of natural resource along with precise planning. One of the important aspects of Water sensitive urban development is to provide development in urban areas by including environment in both contexts which includes Greenfield development as well as urban renewal (Christian Amos, Rahman & Mwangi Gathenya, 2016). Another important aspect of water sensitive urban development is that it also focuses on other important elements such as greenhouse gas levels, biodiversity and various material resources. This basically provides a supreme strength to urban development by providing them proper information of waterways, supply catchments in order to have significant impact on overall development. In addition to this it also provides a unified approach for combining urban built with urban water cycle especially in countries like Australia.

Victoria in Australia is known for garden state. This state is well known for boosting many small and large parks which offers great value for their resident but at the same time this asset is also under continuous threat from drought and change in climate. The design of garden are formed on the base of social values both formal as well as wilder pattern for indigenous vegetation. In recent years Victoria has gone through various changes related to planning provision in order to ensure that this place will continue to remain green space by focusing on storm water sustainability program with the help of water sensitive urban design (Nunes et al., 2012). In October 2018, Victoria government has taken bold step to go beyond water management program by introducing WSUD in planning provision for all schemes related to urban development. Mainly two clauses were 19.03-3s and 53.18 (Meredith, 2019). Basic concept was to focus on managing storm water in an integrated pattern to create low impact on the environment, property and safety related to public with the help of runoff technique. Thermal cooling and habitat diversity issues were recognized in storm water management. Addition of clause 19.03-3S has focused the interest of planning provision on sustainability of supply water, waste water, storm water as well as drainage water in integrated management approach under WSUD program. This clause ensures the maintenance of sustainable water for urban development by making it mandatory to offer land for water management for all planning and coordination (Gardner, 2015). Along with this this provision is also focused on lowering down infrastructure of drainage and waste water along with their operational cost by filtering sediment and waste before discharging in landscape (Fletcher et al., 2015). Without WSUD permit no development programs can be implemented in Victoria. Under WSUD a planning advisory note has been formed which is required to introduce any new change in the existing plan and it also describes 19.03-3S as policy change for urban land development plan. In addition to this, new clause 53.18 has been introduced related to urban development which includes principles related to lower density, land conservation and exclusions (Qingjuan et al., 2019). It also focus on proper management of storm water, retention and recuse in urban development in order to provide environment protection as well as public safety by ensuring cooling and amenity benefits.

Challenges Faced by WSUD in Australia

WSUD program in New South Wales is enabled by Greater Sydney local land services which identify capacity requirements with in Sydney region in order to offer proper protection to the water sensitive areas. This program is being extended across New South Wales. This program is supported by NSW department of planning and environment along with cooperative research Centre.  In New South Wales, WSUD requirement is necessarily adopted through legislation but still state has strong policies related to urban water efficiency in order to manage storm water (Byrnes et al., 2010). A planning framework has been established by both environmental planning and assessment Act and local government act to provide protection to these policies. The objective is to establish strong policies related to water sensitive zones (van der Sterren & Rahman, 2015). It has been seen WSUD covers major policy in building and sustainability index in order to drive environmental planning assessment 2000 and 2004 state policy.

New South Wales has been known for sustainable storm water management under WSUD. It includes environmental protection by ensuring water resource sustainability in urban areas. It is actually the combination of all aspects such as subdivision design, landscape and interception of various pollutants through run off method. New South Wales under WSUD is focusing on storm water discharges which are linked with rivers and creeks along with their social and economic outcomes so that a best infrastructure can be offered to support urban development in New South Wales (Sterren & Rahman, 2015). In 2004, national water initiative agreed upon water reform with the help of local government in order to create water sensitive Australian towns. It includes WSUD as well as integrated urban water cycle planning and management as its main objective. New South Wales government extends towards zone wise catchment scale in order to incorporate any urban development plan. WSUD program includes retention of surface water, ground water recycling and purified sea water in order to offer better place to live for the local residents. In addition to this, WSUD is also considered as sub- component of integrated water cycle management which is more focused on the local issues by including environment protection.

WSUD was introduced by state government while considering planning and construction nearby water sensitivity zones.  WSUD under living cities program was introduced by federal government in 2002 in order to attain sustainable development practice related to environment by considering lifestyle and related infrastructure which offers support to these aspects (Ghosh, 2010). It has been found that after 2006, suburban sites of New South Wales has transformed in to residential development. Under WSUD, wetlands have been converted in to harvest land by treating storm water on site along with bio retention swales on road sides. It also controls the BMP levels which includes preservation of put off solids such as phosphorus, litter and so on. Local government has expanded the importance of clause 56 by amendment VC-154 in order to offer urban cooling, wildlife habitat as well as countryside amenity (Werbeloff, Brown & Loorbach, 2016).

Criteria for Marking


The concept of Water Sensitive Urban Design is based on formulating development plans that incorporate an integrated approach to the management of the urban water cycle.  In relation to stormwater management, WSUD involves a pro-active process which recognises the opportunities for urban design, landscape architecture and stormwater management infrastructure to be intrinsically linked.  WSUD espouses the need to integrate stormwater management into the planning and design of urban areas and applies across the entire spatial scale from a catchment-wide regional level to the precinct level to the local, building level.   

Opportunities for the innovative integration of stormwater management functions within contemporary urban landscape designs at a range of scales within the public realm and private buildings were presented in this paper.  A shift towards “at source” stormwater management systems will further advance the development of innovative on-site, streetscape and precinct scale landscapes incorporating stormwater management functionality.    

The principles of WSUD are equally relevant to achieving sustainable developments in other places with different water infrastructure systems to the Australian context.  The challenge ahead is to continue the collaborative approach to urban design and to provide technically robust solutions that excite and engage communities and deliver improved environmental outcomes for today and future generations.

Water sensitive urban design is mainly founded on formulation of development plan which includes integrated approach in order manages urban water cycle. In addition, storm water management incorporates pro-active approach which identifies opportunities for better urban design, architecture and infrastructure. WSUD advocates need of combining storm water management in to planning and design of urban areas which can be applied across entire state. It includes building level, ground water level and material resources. Australia has great opportunity for innovative integration related to storm water management approach. The basic purpose of this approach is to offer a landscape design with in economic range that provides environmental benefits. WSUD approaches are interlinked with sustainable development for all the water sensitive urban areas and therefore are incorporated in the state policies so that environment can be protected with the help of most advanced design for development.


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Ecologically Sustainable Development in Australia

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