Sustainable design

Environmentally sustainable development considers environmental and social impacts from the design stage through to construction and operation.

Urban development increase impermeable surfaces that affect stormwater quality and quantity, and impact natural water cycles. Water-sensitive urban design considers stormwater management at the planning stage, while reducing water bills, conserving drinking water and creating greener urban areas. Most planning applications will need to consider Clause 53.18 Stormwater Management and Clause 22.12 ESD Policy which has requirements for stormwater.

Darebin Council is located in the between the Darebin and Merri Creeks with flows impacting the Yarra River. Meeting the stormwater quality objectives is important to maintain the health of the creeks, as well as the river, bay, and ocean.

Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD)

The Victorian Urban Stormwater Best Practice Environmental Management Guidelines (Victorian Stormwater Committee, 1999) define best practice stormwater pollutant removal as:

  • 80% reduction in the typical urban load of total suspended solids
  • 45% reduction in the typical urban load of total phosphorous
  • 45% reduction in the typical urban load of total nitrogen
  • 70% retention of typical urban load of litter.

In addition, the Victorian Planning Provisions (VPP) and the Darebin Engineering Department require flow from the site to be:

  • Designed to ensure that flows downstream of the site are restricted to pre-development levels unless increased flows are approved by the relevant drainage authority and there are no detrimental downstream impacts.

For more information, visit the Melbourne Water website.

Demonstrating best practice

Download our Darebin Storm Tool Checklist(PDF, 321KB) for information on WSUD requirements. Meeting requirements can currently be demonstrated by:

  • Submitting a STORM or Insite report achieving a score of at least 100%, or
  • Submitting a MUSIC model demonstrating a treatment train that achieves the above targets.
  • Providing a WSUD plan clearly showing where all impervious surfaces drain
  • Providing plans, sections, details and maintenance schedules for all WSUD treatments and ensuring all WSUD features are clearly drawn and labelled on the plans

Water sensitive urban design examples

You can use a range of water-sensitive urban design treatments, including:

  • maximising roof drainage to rainwater tanks for toilet flushing and irrigation
  • permeable paving to driveways, either a solid type paver or grass/pebble pavers
  • maximising permeable surfaces with gardens
  • grey water systems for irrigation and toilet flushing
  • raingardens, buffer strips and green roofs.
  • Proprietary products from manufacturers

Visit the Melbourne Water stormwater management page for tips on making your home or development more water-sensitive.

Benefits of being a water-sensitive city

Moving towards being a water-sensitive city has great benefits including:

  • water security for greener neighbourhoods
  • healthier canopy trees and vegetation , even in drier times
  • cleaner, less polluted waterways
  • improved livability and suburb amenity
  • better resilience for heatwaves and other weather extremes
  • less impact on receiving waters
  • reducing potable water use
  • greener urban environments with high visual amenity
  • passive cooling through increased vegetation cover.

These resources will give you more information about environmentally sustainable design:

10 key sustainable building categories

You can download our information sheets on sustainable building:

More information

Building Services
Phone: 03 8470 8899