City of Melbourne Councillor Aaron Wood nominated water sensitive urban design as a means by which to manage flood and other risks as a critical part of the city’s push to become more sustainable. Melbourne and other Australian cities had in the past been excessively reliant upon large scale engineering solutions to flood risk management, taking an approach that required the construction of large drainage systems beneath city streets, said Wood.
In recent years, there has been a recognition in Australia and elsewhere of the many favourable aspects of denser urban development, and a corresponding move towards promoting it in urban plans such as Melbourne 2030. In a paper by Carol Skinner, published in Urban Research and Policy in September 2006, the many appealing aspects of denser cities are summarised.
“Water-sensitive Urban Design” (WSUD) is a term used in Australia to describe sustainable water cycle management in the urban landscape. To assist practitioners in designing rainwater source control measures, A Handbook for Australian Practice was published in 2005. The Handbook is a compilation of proven approaches that are aimed at solving everyday problems of small-scale rainwater management.