Water Sensitive Urban Design
Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) is a way of planning our cities to minimise water runoff and ensure any runoff causes the least amount of damage. It is also about wise use of that water to improve our urban environment.
The key principles of WSUD are:
- to reduce the demand for potable (fit for drinking) water by using alternative sources of water such as rainwater and treated wastewater and encouraging water efficient appliances
- to minimise the generation of wastewater and to treat wastewater to a suitable standard for re-use and/or release to receiving waters
- to treat urban stormwater to a quality where it can be reused and/or discharged to surface waters
- to use stormwater in the urban landscape to improve the visual and recreational amenity of developments.
In 2009 the ACT Government introduced the Water Sensitive Urban Design General Code under the Territory Plan. The General Code is designed to encourage reduced use of mains water, to improve water quality and to manage stormwater flows in urban areas.
A review of WSUD, released in August 2014, recommends significantly expanding the current WSUD measures. The review reiterates the importance of WSUD in our environment to manage our urban water cycle, encourages discussion and refined whole-of-government coordination to achieve better outcomes and reduced costs, and to address implementation of report recommendations.
- The ACT Government Water Sensitive Urban Design Review Report
- Attachment A: WSUD Consultation Survey Results
- Fact sheet
The following documents informed the final review report:
From 31 March 2008, property owners who are building, redeveloping or significantly extending their properties will need to demonstrate how they meet a new 40 per cent water efficiency target. This applies to all residential, commercial and industrial developments.
- Single residential options
- Commercial and industrial options
- Planning controls and technical standards
Refer Single Dwelling Housing Development Code – Rule 43.
For single residential buildings, the following options will be deemed to comply with this target
Option 1: Rainwater tank
|Block size||Minimum tank size (litres)||Minimum roof area connected to tank||>Tank connected to at least:|
|250 to 500 m²||2,000||50% or 75m²||Toilet, laundry cold water, all external uses|
|500 to 800 m²||4,000||50% or 100m²||Toilet, laundry cold water, all external uses|
|> 800 m²||5,000||50% or 125m²||Toilet, laundry cold water, all external uses|
Option 2: Greywater system, treating water to Class A standard
- All bathroom and laundry greywater is to be captured
- Greywater is to be connected to all toilet, laundry cold water and all external uses
For single residential blocks less than 300m2, inclusion of water efficient plumbing fixtures, which are already mandatory, will be deemed to comply with the water use target
If you wish to demonstrate an alternative method of achieving the water reduction target, then this will be considered. Contact us for more information.
Use the single residential waterways calculator to identify how the water efficiency targets can be met.
- Rainwater tanks - Guidelines for Residential Properties in Canberra provides advice about installing a rainwater tank
- Greywater use - Guidelines for residential properties in Canberra promotes ways to re-use water from laundries, kitchens and toilets
- The ACT Government has information on incentive rebates, and other water strategies
- The ActewAGL web site, which has tips on saving water and advice on permanent water restrictions
Please refer to the Waterways: Water Sensitive Urban Design General Code for full details. This is available from the Territory Plan.
Design professionals and construction occupation professionals may also need to refer to the following planning guidelines and technical standards:
- Plumbing Note 24: Grey water drainage separation and provision for rainwater plumbing (single residential buildings).
Three different waterways calculators have been developed to assist in identifying how the water efficiency targets can be met.
- Single residential waterways calculator
- Commercial development waterways calculator
- Multi-unit waterways calculator
The calculators have been designed specifically for the Canberra region - with local water usage statistics, rainfall data and watering requirements.
Advice on requirements and options for stormwater quality and quantity targets are contained in the Waterways Code (within the General Codes of the Territory Plan).