Water sensitive urban design

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The twenty-first century marks the point in history when the proportion of the world's population living in urban environments has surpassed those living in the rural environment, making the urban environment a critical focal point for Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) practices. The pursuit of sustainability has emerged in recent years as a progression from previous environmental protection endeavors. The ambition of sustainability and sustainable development is to have lifestyles, and their supporting infrastructure, that can endure indefinitely because they are neither depleting resources nor degrading environmental quality. Urban development impacts on the sustainability of the physical environment, including the health and amenity of water environments. As growing urban communities seek to minimise their impact on already stressed water resources, an emerging challenge is to design for resilience and adaptability to the impact of climate change, particularly in regards to ensuring secure water supplies and the protection of water environments. Conventional approaches to the provision of urban water services were designed to collect, store, treat and then discharge water within a framework of expansion and efficiency. Despite the many benefits from conventional urban water management approaches – such as widespread access to clean drinking water, flood control, and the protection of public health through better management of sewage and industrial waste water – the seemingly unintended environmental costs associated with these modes of water services delivery are now emerging through a range of symptomatic phenomena, particularly chronic pollution of surface and sub-surface water environments, depleted water resources and biodiversity, and increased water resources vulnerability to the effects of climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWater Resources Planning and Management
EditorsR Quentin Grafton, Karen Hussey
Place of PublicationCambridge UK
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780511974304
ISBN (Print)9780521762588
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

Cite this

Wong, T., & Brown, R. (2011). Water sensitive urban design. In R. Q. Grafton, & K. Hussey (Eds.), Water Resources Planning and Management (pp. 483-504). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511974304.026