Water Sensitive Urban Design

Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) is a term used to describe an engineering led approach to planning and designing towns and cities using an integrated and sustainable approaches to water management.

It looks at the water cycle as a whole and how urban environments can best be developed to bring about healthy ecosystems by integrating the whole water cycle.

Water Sensitive Urban Design is a land planning and engineering design approach which integrates:

  • surface water
  • groundwater
  • wastewater or sewerage and
  • clean water supply

into urban design to minimise environmental degradation and improve aesthetic and recreational appeal.

Water Sensitive Urban Design Main Principles

  1. Protecting and enhancing in general rivers, streams and wetlands within urban environments;
  2. Protecting and improving the water quality of water draining from urban environments into rivers, streams and wetlands;
  3. Trying to balance the development effect by maximising the reuse of surface water, rainwater water, grey water and sometimes blackwater;
  4. Conserving non-saline water resources through reuse and system efficiency;
  5. Integrating surface water treatment into the landscape so that it offers multiple beneficial uses such as water quality treatment, wildlife habitat, recreation and open public space, by the use of surface based sustainable drainage systems;
  6. Reducing peak flows and runoff from the urban environment by infiltration and groundwater recharge;
  7. Integrating water into the landscape to enhance urban design as well as social, visual, cultural and ecological values; and
  8. Implementation of cost effective water sensitive urban design techniques