Water sensitive urban design (WSUD): The newly emerging international approach of water sensitive urban design (WSUD) has been identified as a more integrated approach placing the management of surface water at the centre of urban planning and design. It effectively captures Nature based Surface Water Management (SuDS/Sustainable urban Drainage Systems) in a holistic approach to urban planning and design, putting water concerns front and centre of planning, and looking at the benefits that water provides in addition to planning resilience etc.
Nature Based Surface Water Management: Nature Based SuDS work with nature (rather than trying to control it) and are now being mainstreamed across the globe. The benefits of taking a nature-based approach includes not just flood risk management benefits, but also improved water quality (e.g. can filter out >80% heavy metal pollutants), biodiversity (e.g., provide habitat for range of species) and Climate adaptation and mitigation (resilience, micro-climate cooling, carbon sequestration etc.).
The issue of climate change and the resultant need to adapt our cities and towns to be more resilient to increasingly frequent and intensive rainfall events have also brought sustainable water management in the urban context to the fore.
Therefore, the DHLGH, LAWPRO and the CCMA have established a project to actively promote the implementation of nature-based surface water management solutions to our cities and towns through new developments (greenfield and brownfield), as well as urban regeneration and, indeed, all projects that intervene in the urban fabric, using an urban design and plan led approach.
The project will develop an implementation strategy for the development of Water Sensitive Urban Design for the Irish context, which includes Nature Based SuDS. The project is currently engaging with all Local Authorities, state agencies including EPA, IFI, NPWS and OPW, Government Departments, TII and DMURS and the private sector to better understand how Water Sensitive Urban Design can be implemented more coherently in Ireland. The project will run for 6 months and report on its findings in time for the 3rd WFD Cycle. More information on the background leading up to the project is provided below including presentations given at the November 9th 2020 Webinar on Urban Planning and Nature Based Surface Water Management: From Theory to Practice organised in partnership with the Irish Planning Institute and Engineers Ireland.
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