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Superior Sustainability Winner - Consult Australia 2020 Awards for Excellence

“A community working together, managing water wisely to support a vibrant, sustainable and thriving region."
- ACT Water Strategy: Vision
Cardno - Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) infrastructure standards and specifications - Campbell Section 5

Canberra has a proud heritage in high-quality water management, refining their development from highly engineered urban waterways to appreciating and implementing natural processes for water quality management.

Since 2005, Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) has been trialled and adopted in the ACT to better protect their urban waterways, lakes and ponds, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable urban community. The strategy also sought to rectify inconsistencies in ‘best practice’ across the region caused by an absence of specifications available for WSUD infrastructure in the ACT.

To mitigate the urban impacts on their waterways, implementing quality WSUD infrastructure specifications is intrinsic for the Canberra region as it encourages reduced mains water use, improved stormwater quality and managed stormwater flows and promotes greywater reuse.

The project involved the development of the Municipal Infrastructure Standard (MIS) and Technical Specifications (MITS) for WSUD Infrastructure, and incorporate new technologies and align with Australian best practice standards. They reflect current knowledge and best practice, and are underpinned by local ACT experience derived from constructing, operating and maintaining stormwater and WSUD systems since the 1980s in order to meet the ACT Government’s objectives. The documents facilitate the actualisation of the ACT Water Strategy, enabling a sustainable future for their community through a strategically naturalised and improved environment.

The project intrinsically considered environmental outcomes by creating documents that:

  • Govern the safe conveyance of runoff to a receiving water body without causing flooding, loss of lives, or compromising the safety of people and damage to property.
  • Minimise the impact of urbanisation on the environment through stormwater quality and quantity targets.
  • Consider and minimise the potential impacts of climate change on the environment by making an allowance on rainfall intensity, and by undertaking a sensitivity analysis.
  • Better accommodate the stochastic nature of rainfall by adopting the latest approaches promulgated in the Australian Rainfall and Runoff guidelines.
  • Improve outcomes from implementing better design standards.
  • Reduce the risk of flooding and pollution.
  • Advance the quality of life for the people and the community.
  • Supports better landscape outcomes with enhanced aesthetics.
  • Provides opportunities for passive recreation and relaxation for the public, resulting in social benefits.

A recent review indicated that the 2019 stormwater standards and specifications have seen a rapid uptake for WSUD design and result in consistent, well developed, value-for-money engineering outcomes through easily constructible design and documentation, and tangible and intangible benefits. Incorporating the maintenance considerations is beneficial to the environment and the community, as it ensures the measurement effectiveness is maintained into the future and leads to the sustainable use and management of stormwater.

Proactive and consistent collaboration between Cardno, ACT Government – Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS) and stakeholders significantly contributed to the success of the project. Continuous communication throughout the project ensured a completely integrated approach during all phases. for statutory planning, technical design, infrastructure construction, and infrastructure operation and management.

Cardno provides innovative solutions to complex project challenges:

  • Engineering: Road Design, Bridge Design and all associated Civil, Structural and Utility technical designs.
  • Geotechnical: Investigations, Interpretative reports and design.
  • Planning: including Transport and Traffic modelling.
  • Sustainability: ESD solutions, GreenStar Certified design, and Certification assessments.
  • Surveying and Spatial.
  • Aerial Data Acquisition.
  • Environmental: Assessments, Management & Restoration, Permits & Compliance.
  • Asset Management.

For more information contact:

Karen Duck
Business Leader – ACT

Mark Perry
Senior Civil Engineer - ACT

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