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Drainage Network Modelling for Water-Sensitive Urban Design

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While drainage network models may be relatively easy to assemble as a prerequisite to site selection for infrastructure supporting suburbanisation with Water-Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD), this is unlikely to be the case if the terrain is very subdued. Both ab initio and retro-fit WSUD implementation for such terrain refers, in the first instance, to a drainage network model that includes information on the scope for optimising residential space while conforming to: (1) statutory planning rules about the provision of public open space; and (2) WSUD drainage network design such that runoff waters are retained long enough to allow at least temporary storage. It is shown in this research that a technique applied to condition a LiDAR DEM can accurately model the drainage network of a basin at the land-parcel scale. The drainage network for ab initio WSUD is best defined using multi-flow modelling, with the relative significance of stream segments indicated by their stream order derived using the Strahler method. In contrast, when applying the retro-fit WSUD, the relative significance of segments given by the Shreve stream order method was found to be more useful. The approaches described in this article are designed to support the initial site planning stage and avoid the need for immediate and expensive detailed field survey. At the same time they can be deployed to show how much scope there is for WSUD retro-fit in established housing areas up-stream of an infill development area. Thus, basin-wide appraisal is facilitated and the need for earthmoving is minimised.
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Keywords: Drainage network modelling; stream ordering; water-sensitive urban design

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Geographic Information Systems School of Geography and Environmental Science Monash University

Publication date: 01 April 2009

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