SUSTAINABLE  CANBERRA                                           australian institute of landscape architects   AILA®


Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) Demonstration Site


 case-studyproject / guide / case-studies


  • Locate Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) precinct within existing urban area.
  • Consult with surrounding residents and local schools about their vision for the site

      Landscape Design

Water Treatment

  • Aim to restore the natural hydrological processes to the site – filtering nutrients, sediments and litter and slowing down the passage of stormwater.
  • Showcase a series of water harvesting interventions including rain water tanks, grey water recycling, reed beds, off-line, on-line wetlands, swales, rain gardens and dry creek beds
  • Maximise site permeability. This will also assist the local catchment by reducing peak flows and nutrients entering local creeks and drains.
  • Refer to ACT Planning and Land Authority (2006)draft Water Sensitive Urban Design: guidelines for sustainable development in Canberra.

Landscape Materials

  • Incorporate sustainable landscape materials wherever possible.  This will reduce the ecological footprint of the project.  Ensure materials are used which encourage water permeability.
  • Showcase a range of different permeable paving products and monitor their effectiveness over the life of the project.

Site Ecology

  • Aim to restore original plant communities to the site, including wetland, grassland (grasses, lilies, orchids, peas) and woodland species.
  • Choose plants sourced from local seed stock (within 10km radius) where possible.


  • Ensure provision of wheelchair and stroller accessible pathways throughout the precinct. 
  • Ensure pathways are adequately lit for safe night time use.


  • Ensure well placed interpretive signage is used throughout the precinct.


  • Involve local schools in designing the precinct into their environmental education curriculum.


  • Engage local artists to provide site appropriate artwork for the site.


  • Involve Waterwatch and local residents in watering quality monitoring before and after the development of the precinct to establish reliable data on the effectiveness of the project.


  • Ensure funding set aside for well considered landscape maintenance plan plus ongoing costs for regular maintenance.

Planning for climate change

  • Ensure precinct will be shaded by appropriately selected trees, which will provide shade.  The majority of plants selected need to be able to cope with a hotter and drier climate, grouped according to their water needs and not require mains water for irrigation.

Case Study

Cotton Tree WSUD precinct, Maroochydore, Queensland
Sustainable Water Challenge Projects
and Other WSUD Case Studies in NSW and Australia
South East Queensland Site Register and Case Studies

WSUD Key Principles

Melbourne Water

WSUD Case Studies

Melbourne Water

Water Sensitive Planning Guides and Practice Notes



 case-studyproject / guide / case-studies


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