Water Sensitive Urban Design Impediments and Potential: Contributions to the SA Urban Water Blueprint

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Project Partners:

CSIRO and University of South Australia

Research Theme:



Project Overview

The project Water Sensitive Urban Design Impediments and Potential: Contributions to the SA Urban Water Blueprint was funded by the Goyder Institute for Water Research. It aimed to identify and address the impediments and constraints, and identify opportunities and enabling mechanisms that will contribute in the strategic uptake of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) with a focus on local capacity building and cost of living for South Australia (SA).

The project will provide government agencies and other stakeholders with the scientific, technical, social and economic background to target further specific actions in support of the implementation of WSUD in SA. This information can inform government in effectively implementing the relevant actions identified in the Water for Good plan. In addition, the project aligns with the activities and outcomes from the Business Case for a Water Sensitive Urban Design Capacity-Building Program for South Australia (Alluvium and Kate Black Consulting 2012) and supports the current WSUD capacity building program implementation initiative from the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Natural Resources Management Board (AMLR NRM Board). A primary objective of the WSUD project was to provide the knowledge-base that will support WSUD capacity building initiatives and in addition the SA Urban Water Blueprint. This Blueprint is being developed by DEWNR and aims to establish an integrated and strategic plan for urban water infrastructure investment in SA, including the strategic uptake of WSUD.

The 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide (the Plan) seeks to create a most efficient planning system for Adelaide up to 2040. The Plan projects a steady population growth of 560,000 people and the development of an additional 258,000 homes by the Year 2040. It aims to provide for population and economic growth, whilst protecting the environment and heritage values of Greater Adelaide. The Plan envisages a Greater Adelaide made up of vibrant and liveable communities that are resilient to climate change impacts. Key principles of the Plan include the protection of natural resources and the engagement with communities (Government of South Australia 2012). The Plan also aims to increase the urban density in greater Adelaide, with a target of 70% of new housing comprised of infill development in existing urban areas and 30% of fringe development. WSUD can be a key approach for ensuring the sustainable development of Greater Adelaide.

Progress Update and Key Findings

There were three main objectives of the project, each representing one of three main project tasks:

  1. To investigate the impediments and drivers for WSUD specific to South Australian urban developments.
  2. To identify and understand community perceptions that have the potential to influence the uptake of WSUD systems in South Australia.
  3. To understand the potential of WSUD in South Australia to promote water conservation, reduce flooding risk, impacts of frequent flow from development on watercourses, the development of green space and water quality impacts on Gulf St Vincent.

Highlights of the research included:

  • The production of a spatial database of WSUD sites in South Australia for public use (Objective 1).
  • Detailed socio-technical assessment of six WSUD developments was used as a basis for identifying critical factors that have impeded successful implementation of WSUD in the SA context (Objective 1).
  • Mapping of stakeholder groups for WSUD in SA to understand roles and responsibilities, and possible gaps or lack of coordination among institutions. Engagement with these stakeholder groups to understand key drivers and impediments for WSUD implementation in SA (Objective 1).
  • A detailed review of current WSUD policies in SA and a comparative analysis with other Australian jurisdictions (Objective 1)
  • A community consultation, investigating the social and technical issues, drivers and opportunities for the uptake and management of WSUD systems (Objective 2). Determination of the impact of urban infill development on runoff volume, runoff peak flow rate and flood volumes and a means to explore the impact of WSUD on these volumes (Objective 3).
  • Data on the ability of onsite and streetscale WSUD measures to improve the performance of drainage systems for events up to and including the design capacity (Objective 3).

Project Impacts

The project has thematically mapped responsibility for WSUD in South Australian government. Based on feedback from local practioners, the project also provided evidence to support existing concerns over urban drainage capacity and the need to consider the impact of infill development on existing drainage measures. It has also provided some indication of the ability of on-site and street scale WSUD to restore drainage capacity. The existing work has led to a new project directed specifically at urban infill development in Greater Adelaide which is proposed to be funded by six local governments and the Stormwater Management Authority. This further research will be used to develop policy in response to the identified impact of infill development and WSUD.

The project consultation helped to establish a Stormwater Liaison Group which meets quarterly to discuss stormwater issues in SA at the operator level. The group includes local researchers and state government representatives. This has led to a collaborative approach to the proposed research in Phase 2 where recommendations for policy development will be made, with in-kind support from the WSUD capacity building program manager.

Research Outputs

Water Sensitive Urban Design Impediments and Potential: Contributions to the SA Urban Water Blueprint: Post-implementation assessment and impediments to WSUD

New modelling capability to target stormwater interventions that support seagrass health along Adelaide's coast

Implementing Water Sensitive Urban Design in Stormwater Management Plans

Water Sensitive Urban Design Impediments and Potential: Contributions to the Urban Water Blueprint (Phase 1) Task 3: The Potential Role of WSUD in Urban Service Provision

The Status of Water Sensitive Urban Design Schemes in South Australia

Interim Water Sensitive Urban Design Targets for Greater Adelaide

Community Acceptance of Water Sensitive Urban Design: Six Case Studies

Pathways for Implementation of Water Sensitive Urban Design Policy in South Australia

Frederick Street Stormwater Runoff Model

Paddocks Catchment Stormwater Runoff Model

Project News