Water sensitive urban design

Past management of the urban water cycle has focused on hard engineering solutions, such as underground piping of our waterways and concrete drainage systems.  Whilst this approach has been beneficial in flood management and disease prevention, it has caused detrimental impacts to the ecology of our waterways, contributed to water pollution, bank erosion and salinity and has also resulted in the wastage of valuable water resources.

Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) is an urban water cycle method that considers and mimics the natural water cycle.


  • Treats stormwater as a resource
  • Mimics natural processes in the control of stormwater
  • Manages water in a sustainable manner through considering the complete water cycle
  • Is carefully designed, constructed and maintained to minimise impacts on the natural water cycle.

WSUD makes it possible to:

  • Maintain and restore natural water balance
  • Reduce flood risk in urban areas
  • Reduce erosion of waterways, slopes and banks
  • Improve water quality in streams and groundwater
  • Use water resources more efficiently
  • Reduce costs associated with maintenance of water infrastructure
  • Protect and restore aquatic and riparian habitats
  • Protect the scenic, landscape and recreational values of waterways.