Determining water sensitive urban design project benefits using a multi-criteria assessment tool

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The integration of urban water cycle management with urban planning and design is referred to as ‘Water Sensitive Urban Design’ or ‘WSUD’ in Australia; one of the key elements of WSUD is the management of urban stormwater. In early 2006, the Victorian Government released the Yarra River Action Plan, which allocated $20 million towards tackling urban stormwater pollution. To help ensure this money is allocated in an equitable and transparent manner across all metropolitan local governments a multi-criteria assessment tool has been developed. This paper presents an overview of the multi-criteria assessment tool developed and adopted for selecting WSUD projects that are eligible for funding through Melbourne Water's Stormwater Program. This tool considers three types of indicators: environmental, engagement (engagement with stakeholders and local government capacity building) and financial. Within each category, a series of indicators of different weightings are applied to score a project. Where initial concept designs do not meet the Program criteria, additional work is undertaken to refine and improve the project. The tool and its use are illustrated with a case study.

Keywords: capacity building, multi-criteria assessment, stormwater, water sensitive urban design

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