Welcome to the Urban Water Management: Water Sensitive Design website. We hope you will join us on our quest to transform South African settlements into those that “mitigate water scarcity, improve water quality, thereby protect ecosystems, through the development of water sensitive urban areas (for all) that are sustainable, resilient and adaptable to change, while simultaneously being a place where people want to live”.
This website was developed to report on ongoing projects related to the South African Water Research Commission (WRC) Water Sensitive Design Lighthouse – including the ‘Guidelines for implementing Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in South Africa’, and the ‘Framework and guidelines for Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) in South Africa’.
“In its broadest context, WSUD encompasses all aspects of integrated urban water cycle management, including water supply, sewerage and stormwater management. It represents a significant shift in the way water and related environmental resources and water infrastructure are considered in the planning and design of cities and towns, at all scales and densities” (Fletcher et al., 2014)
It is also recognised that it is not only urban and peri-urban environments that could benefit from such an approach; the integration of water cycle management into planning and design for the growth of communities needs to include rural settlements as well. For this reason reference to the word ‘urban ‘ has been removed from the term; thus Water Sensitive Design (WSD) is envisioned as the enabler for ensuring that local authorities move closer to meeting developmental goals in all settlements where people dwell, irrespective of scale and locality (note that the terms WSUD and WSD are used interchangeably throughout this website).
The South African Water Research Commission has recently released the first Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) Guidelines for South Africa. The guidelines include a framework for transitioning settlements (towns and cities) in South Africa in to ‘Water Sensitive’ Settlements.