Water Sensitive SA

Smart stormwater storage

Smart stormwater storage

16 February 2024

Smart technology is becoming an integral part of sustainable water resource management. Harnessing real-time data, using automatic control systems and enabling sensors to help us intervene at the most appropriate points is now at the forefront of urban stormwater management.

Over the last number of decades, we have developed models to understand and predict water catchment behaviours and constructed features in our landscape to respond, particularly to reduce flood impacts. While these structural elements have been fundamental in modern urban design, the integration of water smart technologies could mean a shift in how we have traditionally approached stormwater infrastructure.

The University of Adelaide, together with the Cities of Mitcham and Unley, SA Government, and Water Technology evaluated the benefits of smart water systems for a stormwater drainage upgrade scenario in Fullarton.

The study assessed the potential benefits and costs of a range of stormwater storage options, including smart operation of storages, for urban stormwater systems. The benefits assessed include peak overland flow reduction, water re-use potential and water quality. The results were compared with more traditionally used pipe upgrades.

The key findings include: Smart distributed storage (multiple in line tanks across the catchment area) empties the tanks prior to and during a storm and achieves a far higher peak flow reduction or large reduction in system costs.

The team at the University of Adelaide have also spent time building a physical stormwater system to test a range of storm scenarios and stormwater control strategies. The results of this exciting research can further advance how and when we respond to high rainfall events, particularly as they are predicted to become more intense over the next decades.


Thyer M, Maier H and DiMatteo M (2019) Evaluating the benefits of smart stormwater systems: Summary of research outcomes. The University of Adelaide.

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