Water-sensitive urban design

Water-sensitive urban design (WSUD) promotes the sustainable use and re-use of water in urban development and buildings.

This type of design integrates the total water cycle and water from all sources, including rainwater, storm water, groundwater, mains water and waste water, into urban development and building processes.

WSUD measures and tools can be applied to residential, commercial and industrial developments and buildings. They range from the storage, treatment and use of runoff to water-efficient landscaping.

WSUD can help communities achieve greater water sustainability and become more pleasant places to live and work.

Technical manual for water-sensitive urban design in Greater Adelaide

The technical manual helps councils and planners apply WSUD to developments and buildings in Greater Adelaide. It includes information on legislative requirements, design processes and tools, construction, maintenance and operating requirements, some indicative costs, case studies and a list of useful resources.

The manual has been split into individual chapters for ease of downloading and includes summary sheets outlining each chapter's content. For an alternative version of these documents see Planning contacts.

Chapter Chapter Title Summary Sheets
 Contents and glossary (175.4 KB PDF)  
1 Introduction and snapshot of WSUD measures (the WSUD toolkit) (946.7 KB PDF) Chapters 1, 2 and 3 - Summary (788.2 KB PDF)
2 WSUD measures for different types and scale of development (1.3 MB PDF)  
3 Designing a WSUD strategy for your development (425.3 KB PDF)  
4 Demand reduction (733.8 KB PDF) Chapter 4 - Summary (287.2 KB PDF)
5 Rainwater tanks (1.4 MB PDF) Chapter 5 - Summary (206.5 KB PDF)
6 Rain gardens, green roofs and infiltration systems (1.6 MB PDF) Chapter 6 - Summary (313.5 KB PDF)
7 Pervious pavements (1.7 MB PDF) Chapter 7 - Summary (224.5 KB PDF)
8 Urban water harvesting and reuse (964.1 KB PDF) Chapter 8 - Summary (272.9 KB PDF)
9 Gross pollutant traps (977.1 KB PDF) Chapter 9 - Summary (286.5 KB PDF)
10 Bioretention systems for streetscapes (1.5 MB PDF) Chapter 10 - Summary (286.7 KB PDF)
11 Swales and buffer strips (608.4 KB PDF) Chapter 11 - Summary (232.3 KB PDF)
12 Sedimentation basins (542.8 KB PDF) Chapter 12 - Summary (257.8 KB PDF)
13 Constructed wetlands (810.9 KB PDF) Chapter 13 - Summary (270.6 KB PDF)
14 Wastewater management (670.9 KB PDF) Chapter 14 - Summary (227.9 KB PDF)
15 Modelling process and tools (652.8 KB PDF) Chapter 15 - Summary (207.0 KB PDF)
16 Siphonic roofwater systems (1.4 MB PDF) Chapter 16 - Summary (204.3 KB PDF)

Case studies of bio retention and swale systems

A series of case studies describe bioretention and swale systems in WSUD landscaping in public spaces in Greater Adelaide.

Each study details the plant species used, soil specifications, maintenance suggestions and the lessons learned. They indicate that the most important factors behind a well-functioning system are:

  • the selection of appropriate plants
  • good maintenance after establishment
  • signage to inform workers and the public about the system.

For an alternative version of these documents see Planning contacts.

Related information

On this site

South Australia's planning policy library
Water, energy and environment

Other websites

Department of Water and Environment

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Page last updated 18 August 2020

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