Water sensitive design

Water sensitive design


Wetland in a low-density development.

Water sensitive design refers to the treatment measures landowners can adopt to reduce the volume and contamination of stormwater when planning and building new developments on your property.

The key principles of water sensitive design include:

  • integrating stormwater treatment into the landscape by using the natural drainage lines on your property (with trees and plants to retain water and help remove pollutants)
  • reducing run-off and peak flows from your property by using detention basins and retention areas (such as rainwater tanks), and minimising impervious surfaces (such as bitumen or concrete).
  • adding value, while minimising development costs, by reducing downstream drainage infrastructure due to reduced peak stormwater flows and run-off
  • protecting water quality by ensuring the stormwater flowing into waterways from your land has a neutral or beneficial effect on water quality.

Examples of water sensitive design techniques include:


Rainwater tank conceptual diagrams: a standard tank and a tank including mains top-up.

  • rainwater tanks
  • raingardens
  • wetlands
  • filtration trenches
  • grass swales
  • porous paving
  • site layout and landscaping.

Many water sensitive design measures use biological activity by plants and trees to filter and treat stormwater. One example is raingardens, which have rainwater directed to them from a downpipe or paved area. Beneath the raingarden are layers of filter media consisting of sandy soil which helps to filter and treat the stormwater before it discharges offsite and enters creeks and rivers. Along with the vegetation growing in the raingarden, these layers help remove pollutants, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, fertilisers, dust, leaves and animal droppings, which are washed off hard surfaces.


Monday 18 October
2,426,169 ML
2,581,850 ML
9,030 ML
1,290 ML
3,065 ML
Monday 18 October