Water Sensitive SA

Cooler, greener Adelaide | Your voice matters

Partners and supporters of Water Sensitive SA share a vision of places for people that boast quality green spaces; naturally protect and enhance the health of our watercourses and marine environments; and minimise flood risk.

We invite you to join us in our Cooler, greener Adelaide campaign to bring urban greening and water sensitive urban design into the mainstream.

By supporting the Cooler, greener Adelaide campaign you will join many Councils, industry associations and individuals who want to see green infrastructure and water sensitive urban design performance requirements brought into South Australia’s planning system and the South Australian edition of the Building Code of Australia.

A cooler, greener Adelaide is possible. Everyone has a role to play as solutions are required at all scales: Private allotments, our streetscapes, and parks and other recreational areas.

How can we make a cooler, greener South Australia a reality?

There are many ways you can contribute.

Advocacy – General

Raise awareness of the benefits of greener communities sustained by water sensitive urban design principles and practices in your own networks. The importance of a groundswell of support cannot be understated. We would encourage you to use some of the key messages and targeted stakeholder messages within the Water Sensitive SA Stakeholder Engagement Plan – and don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to talk about what that you can become involved.

Advocacy – Planning Policy
  • Get behind our direct advocacy for the green infrastructure and water sensitive urban design policy adoption within the Planning reforms and design code, and building code by pledging your support for the policy position described below in “New development” section.
  • Elevate this as a relevant conversation in the public domain, advocate with your elected members (Council) that urban greening and water sensitive urban design is important.
  • With public support from people like you, our message gains even more legitimacy and urgency
What else can you do?

Private allotments

  • Plant a tree.
  • Create a vegetable garden – what’s better than picking veggies from your own garden?
  • Small garden? No problem. Plant a climbing vine – many bear fruits and vegetables. Did you know, the cost of water for veggies that you grow yourself is half the cost for purchased vegetables? See the presentation by Sophie Thomson to find out more (5:58).
  • Visit our Smart water solutions for your home and backyard webpages for more ideas of how to integrate water back into the environment on your property to sustain landscapes.
Images: Sophie Thomson

New development

  • We are all consumers – we need to ask more questions when we are planning our home or investment property, like:
    • How will the design make use of northerly aspects for passive warming?
    • How can trees, shrubs and grass be included in the landscape design to provide cooling of the home?
    • How will the design minimise water use in the home?
    • How will the design maximise use of rainwater inside and outside of the home?
  • Support a policy position that seeks to achieve goals to:
    • increase urban green cover and canopy cover for amenity and urban cooling
    • maximise fit-for-purpose use of alternative water (recycled wastewater/stormwater, rainwater), to conserve our water resources
    • provide balance to the urban water cycle encouraging infiltration of stormwater to maintain soil moisture, replenish groundwater and ultimately local creek base flows, to minimise watercourse erosion
    • provide stormwater treatment prior to discharge to urban waterways and the marine environment to protect our natural environments
    • reduce local flood risk.

How will this reshape our public places?

  • Streets have wider verges or medians
    • to enable establishment of mature trees that reach their canopy potential
    • for stormwater treatment, infiltration and storage.
  • Streets have healthy vegetation supported by sustainable water management that provide shaded refuges. These will be achieved through the application of:
    • onsite infiltration measures including swales and buffer strips
    • re-use of treated stormwater and recycled wastewater
    • porous pavements
    • bioretention systems such as sand filters, basins or raingardens
    • gross pollutant traps (GPTs), litter baskets within the stormwater pipe network.
Parks and recreational areas
Image: Michael Mullan
  • Parks integrate stormwater and flood detention into their design to enable multiple uses of public open space.
  • Vegetated stormwater management measures support biodiversity and ecosystem health.
  • Linear parks along waterways and drainage lines provide community connectivity.
  • Parks and recreational areas are kept green via irrigation with alternative water supplies from treated stormwater harvesting or recycled wastewater.
  • Stormwater runoff from roads is harvested and passively irrigated trees and landscaped areas to sustain their health.

Here are some of our top picks for leading water sensitive urban design strategies, policies, plans and projects.

Have you got a project or case study in excellence in water sensitive urban design that you would like to share? You can provide details to us via our case study register.

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.