Best practice water sensitive design

Article image - Best practice water sensitive design Water sensitive design gardens are now a feature of MidCoast Council developments.

MidCoast Council’s focus on developing an industry-leading water sensitive design policy is helping protect the health of the New South Wales (NSW) region’s waterways – vitally important for local primary producers and the tourism industry.

After winning its category in the NSW Stormwater Awards for Excellence last August, the project progressed to also take out the national award.

Council’s Manager of Natural Systems, Gerard Tuckerman, said, “This project has delivered a standard of best practice for our region that is clear and concise for all users of the water sensitive design chapter of the development control plan.

“Applying the water sensitive design controls not only improves customer service, it helps maintain water quality in our rivers and estuaries despite continuing urban development.”

Tuckerman said the award was testament to the power of collaboration.

“It is fitting that the success of this project was largely due to engaging closely with local external stormwater planning consultants, designers and customers on work undertaken by Council’s engineers, planners and scientists.”

The development control plan guidelines assist developers to include measures for treating stormwater runoff from any proposed development in the MidCoast. For small scale residential developments, the measures typically include a rainwater tank and small rain garden to treat overflow from the tank.

Rain gardens allow stormwater to slowly sink through a sand filter, while selected plants take up the nutrients.  The clean water then either drains back to the stormwater system, or infiltrates into the ground.

With new development comes an increase in hard surfaces such as roads, roofs and driveways. When it rains, stormwater rushes off these surfaces carrying sediment and nutrients, litter, oil, detergents and other pollutants straight into our waterways - having an impact on water quality in lakes and waterways.

“Our development control plan now includes a clear, concise and robust policy around water sensitive design.

“Combined with updated standard drawings, mapping, education materials and guidelines, customers have clear information to prepare development applications that address all of Council’s requirements.”