Water Sensitive SA

Cost-benefit analysis tool for WSUD & green infrastructure

Cost-benefit analysis tool for WSUD & green infrastructure

13 December 2016

Water Sensitive SA is set to partner with the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities to address the well documented barriers to the uptake of water sensitive urban design (WSUD), our inability to quantify the full life cycle costs and the broad range of benefits WSUD and green infrastructure provide, via a cost-benefit analysis framework and tool. The project involves a unique combination of researchers, water utilities, local government and industry associations from across Australia, and will create a national tool to support business case development for any master plan, capital works, asset renewal or new development incorporating WSUD or green infrastructure.

This project will deliver upon two of the six priority projects within the Water Sensitive SA Business Plan, in particular Priority 1 The case for WSUD – cost-benefit analysis and Priority 2 Life cycle cost analysis.


The key outputs of this CRC for Water Sensitive Cities project will be:

  1. A tool to assist in the identification and monetisation of non-market or intangible benefits from various types of investment in water sensitive cities. It will cover benefits related to ecology, water quality, recreation, aesthetics, and urban heat (affecting mortality, health, power costs, economic productivity and comfort). This includes generation of new information on non-market benefits for selected cases.
  2. A comprehensive tool specifically designed for conducting cost-benefit analysis of investments in water sensitive cities, integrating non-market benefits, market benefits, bio-physical effects, behaviour change, risk and uncertainty, time delays and costs (including up-front and maintenance costs). It will be developed to meet the needs and contexts of end users. It will be flexible and scalable.
  3. Advice on financial models and policy approaches to foster investment in water sensitive cities where benefits are not necessarily captured by those who bear the costs.
  4. A diverse set of case studies where the tools are applied, tested and adapted.
  5. The work will be underpinned by a strong strategy for stakeholder engagement, overseen by an end-user-driven steering committee.


Water Sensitive SA Program Manager, Mellissa Bradley, is a member of the project steering committee and will work with the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities to connect researchers with WSUD practitioners in South Australia with a key focus to incorporate end-user needs into the planning and design of the cost-benefit analysis tool. To find out more contact Mellissa Bradley.

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Acknowledgement of Country

Water Sensitive SA acknowledges Aboriginal people as the First Peoples and Nations of the lands and waters we live and work upon, and we pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge and respect the deep spiritual connection and the relationship that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have to Country.