Water Sensitive SA

Detailed design of wetlands

In-house training

Detailed design of wetlands (PDF)

Learning objective

Learn how to design successful constructed stormwater wetlands that meet multiple design objectives, including:

  • Stormwater runoff pollution reduction
  • Long-term function
  • Ease of maintenance
  • Effective integration with public spaces and other infrastructure
  • High-amenity value

Design engineers and landscape architects (local government and consulting)


01 – Introduction

02 – Wetland overview

  • Wetland types
  • Functional elements
  • How they work

03 – Design for multiple benefits

  • Pollutant removal
  • Harvesting and re-use
  • Integration with public open space
  • Habitat

04 – Wetland design process

  • Concept
  • Functional and detailed design

05 – Sizing and design flows

  • Estimations using MUSIC
  • Choosing rainfall period
  • Catchment characteristics
  • Soil parameters
  • Input parameters for MUSIC

06 – Sediment basins

  • Sediment capture efficiency
  • Clean out frequency/sediment volume estimates

07 – Macrophyte zone

  • Role of: Vegetation, open water zones
  • Ratio open water: macrophytes, wetland bathymetry, hydraulic effectiveness, planting regimes, mosquito management

08 – Planting selection

  • Botanic design
  • Inundation tolerances
  • Core species for each zone

09 – Activity 1

  • Undertake concept design, select an appropriate location for and size a wetland

10 – Site visit

  • First Creek Wetland, Adelaide Botanic Gardens
  • Local wetland nominated by client

11 – Structures and flow control

  • Inlet structures
  • Inlet zone connections with macrophyte zone
  • Macrophyte zone outlet
  • Outlet details in MUSIC
  • High flow bypass structures

12 – Wetland hydrology

  • Inundation frequency analysis
  • MUSIC Auditor wetland analysis tool

13 – Maintenance and monitoring

  • Maintenance regimes
  • Access design requirements
  • Water level controls
  • Sediment de-watering areas

14 – Activity 2

  • Undertake calculations for sizing of wetland structures
  • Select plants for various wetland zones

Peter Breen, E2Designlab
Dale Browne, E2Designlab

Core competencies attained

An understanding of:

  • the different wetland zones and their function: deep pools; transitions between deep and shallow water; shallow water; temporary inundation areas; and the upper bank that ties the wetland into its surroundings
  • vegetation for nutrient removal, bank stability and aesthetics suitable for each zone
  • growing medium specifications
  • inlet and outlet structures
  • opportunities for wetlands to provide greater amenity/ landscape value.

Price on application

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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.