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Scott, B, 2012 –– An investigation of the potential impediments to transitioning to the use of Water Sensitive Urban Design practices in South East Queensland

Blair Scott (United States)

Blair ScottTraditional urban development practices and the resulting impervious surfaces within catchments have resulted in increased flows and pollutant loading into receiving waterways. To minimise the effects of urban development on surrounding environments in Australia, Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) has been introduced as an innovative planning and design philosophy with the purpose of mitigating these impacts and protecting waterway health.

WSUD has been validated within Queensland’s legislation and its use is supported in new urban developments within South East Queensland (SEQ). However, there have been issues experienced while implementing vegetated stormwater assets under a new WSUD paradigm and the results at implementation have been varied.

This project explores the issues with the effective adoption of WSUD and presents an investigation of the current WSUD implementation process for stormwater management in Logan City, as a representation of the trends taking place for WSUD projects in SEQ. It discusses some of the impediments for transitioning to WSUD stormwater management practices, focusing on the issues that have been experienced thus far within Australia.

In examining the current status of WSUD implementation in Logan and throughout SEQ, this project challenges the present role of WSUD within the management of urban stormwater and indicates a need for redefining the application of WSUD in SEQ.


Blair Scott 1


Through this project I experienced first-hand, through my investigation, the types of issues seen in urban water governance. I was able to gain understanding of how legislation is translated into on-ground assets to combat urban water issues. Moreover, I was able to witness some of the barriers to innovation in urban water management.  

At the end of the research I wrote a discussion paper that Healthy Waterways used to raise awareness of the current issues with WSUD implementation and build capacity within local SEQ councils. I also collaborated with Healthy Waterways to hold a workshop with practitioners on improving the implementation of WSUD.


Blair Scott 2


I believe my project will be very beneficial through the synthesis it has created of this complex issue involving many parties. Moreover, my work is innovative in shedding light on some of the social dynamics at work which are perpetuating these issues. It is hoped that better understanding of these present issues will help SEQ develop in a water sensitive manner in accordance with the principles of WSUD. This will facilitate liveable urban environments that are cooler and greener places to live and play, and that engage communities who are more connected to their waterways.

Read Blair's project synopsis WSUD background discussion paper

> Read more about Blair's professional background


Photos are examples of stormwater treatment systems that have been well integrated into urban developments and add amenity as well as meeting water quality and flood management objectives.


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