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DES 11

Water Sensitive Urban Design – the Journey Thus Far

Tony H F Wong

This paper was first published in the Australian Journal of Water Resources, and is reprinted with the kind permission of Engineers Australia.  This paper presents an overview of the current state of adoption of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) and future trends in Australian practice. At the inaugural conference on WSUD in Melbourne 2000, several inter-related issues were identified as essential elements in underpinning the effective adoption of WSUD. Since 2000 progress on each of these issues has led to further advancement of WSUD in Australian practice. Successes in implementation are however varied, a reflection of an industry transitioning to a new paradigm.

The technology and design of WSUD elements has evolved since 2000 with many projects demonstrating innovation at a range of scales. Current trends in concept and systemic design, and recent research findings, are rapidly advancing innovation in this regard. Construction and maintenance practices are identified as one of the recurring impediments to the effective implementation of many excellent conceptual designs of WSUD. Institutional reform for integrated urban water cycle management remains elusive. The socio-institutional dimension of WSUD, while instrumental to effective policy development and technology diffusion efforts, still remains a largely underdeveloped area of research.

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water sensitive urban design, integrated water cycle management, stormwater quality

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