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An Overview of Water Sensitive Urban Design and its Accompanying Benefits

10 May 2021

Urban stormwater runoff is often considered to be a source of difficulties to conventional urban stormwater management since it can pose a lot of problems and issues along the way. Without any appropriate planning, the urban stormwater runoff can easily increase the chances of flooding, cut off aquatic biological diversity, and speed up the process of sedimentation and erosion.

However, an alternative approach integrates stormwater runoff alongside other water sources to the urban water cycle. This approach even considers these elements as viable resources for water supply.

The alternative approach, which is known as water sensitive urban design (WSUD), manages stormwater, groundwater, and wastewater and utilises them as part of the general urban design.

Principles and Objectives of WSUD

As previously mentioned, WSUD is an approach wherein stormwater, groundwater, and wastewater are being integrated into the general urban planning and design to make them less harmful. Through this approach, all these water streams are considered to be viable water resources, ensuring that they can provide useful benefits to water, land, biodiversity, and the urban community. This approach likewise envisions the efficient use and movement of these water streams in urban communities by mimicking the natural water cycle as closely as possible. 

The WSUD approach has the purpose of not only maximising the functional purposes of these water streams but also converting these streams into something that would introduce aesthetic and recreational appeal to the urban community.

WSUD likewise plans to reduce potable water demand through effective water management, promote the use of alternative sources of water, treat water streams to meet water quality objectives for reuse, improve waterway health, enhance the aesthetics and the water connection for the urban community, foster a notable degree of water-related self-sufficiency within urban settings, incorporate the use of water-efficient appliances and fittings, and counteract urban heat island effect.

Remarkable Benefits of WSUD

Through utilising the WSUD approach, the negative impacts of urban stormwater runoff will be reduced. Some impacts of urban stormwater runoff that can be mitigated by WSUD include the presence of unnatural flows of waterways, changes in the habitat of animals and plants, and erosion of streams.

One other benefit of WSUD is that it can be implemented anywhere. From a single project to interconnected projects, WSUD can truly allow urban communities to maximise their waterways. Some types of WSUD that can be done include rain gardens, constructed wetlands, porous pavements, harvesting of rainwater and stormwater, green infrastructure, and infiltration trenches.

And since water streams will be regulated by WSUD, the water quality in natural bodies of water will improve significantly. WSUD can likewise reduce reliance on potable water just to irrigate green spaces, mitigate flood through intercepting stormwater flows, improve biodiversity, and improve soil quality.

Obtain WSUD Services Today

If you need services that are related to WSUD, feel free to contact us at Fairdinkum Technical Services. We are a boutique organisation with over 35 years of experience in design and construction, providing technical engineering design. We likewise provide an excellent level of professional engineering services and participate cooperatively and constructively as part of your project team.

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