What is Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD)?

Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) is a set of principles that can be applied to sustainably manage water, providing opportunities for the development industry, local government and their communities to achieve more liveable cities with vibrant and healthy waterways.

Urban development using conventional approaches can have a negative impact on the natural water cycle. WSUD seeks to minimise this impact by integrating developments with a site’s natural features and promoting the integration of stormwater, water supply and sewage management.

Water Sensitive Urban Design Plants Water Sensitive Urban Design Waterways

Application of these principles provides a cost-effective means to minimise impacts of development on waterways, provide places that are cooler and greener, and engage communities that are healthier and more connected to their waterways. Previously we have identified that a lack of capacity (willingness and ability), unsupportive organisational cultures, and restrictive policy environments can limit the potential for the WSUD approach to achieve desirable outcomes.

In some instances, poor outcomes frustrate the land development industry and local governments, whilst our community bears the social and economic costs. Healthy Land and Water works to improve the implementation of WSUD practice through our internationally-recognised and nationally awarded Water by Design Program. The program delivers and supports guidelines and training courses, along with initiatives such as Living Waterways which have won numerous awards and acclaim from our members and stakeholders.

Water Sensitive Urban Design Waterways Creek Water Sensitive Urban Design Waterways Plants

Key WSUD Initiatives

What makes good Water Sensitive Urban Design? There are hundreds of ways it can be achieved. View our selection of key initiatives and case studies below:

Living Waterways 
Strategic Waterways 
WSUD Case Studies
WSUD in North Qld
Water Wise Street Trees
Meet the Pollutants

WSUD Plant Database

Water by Design have released our WSUD plant database online. This database is designed to help practitioners find the perfect plant for their stormwater treatment system. Search the links below: