Water Sensitive Design approaches, including the use of Green Infrastructure (GI), are increasingly accepted as best practice for land and infrastructure development in many circumstances because they support the protection and enhancement of freshwater and coastal water quality, can provide ecosystem, community and cultural benefits, may reduce risks, and may be more resilient and cost effective than traditional built infrastructure.
While the use of GI, including natural assets, generally offers a wider range of benefits when compared to traditional built infrastructure, there are also circumstances where their use may not be appropriate due to case-specific constraints or where whole of life costs and operational implications are too high compared to the benefits. Guidance is required to direct the Stormwater Unit’s (SWU) operational activities in encouraging and providing for GI where appropriate, in order to achieve clear, equitable, cost effective and regionally consistent stormwater management.
To address this, the SWU commissioned the development of a Green Infrastructure Policy (GI Policy or Policy) to provide operational guidance on the use and management of GI. The purpose of the Policy is to:
- Direct the SWU’s approach to use and management of GI in undertaking its functions;
- Encourage the use of GI for stormwater management in public and private development where stormwater infrastructure is to be vested in/managed by Council; and
- Guide SWU involvement in wider Council planning and management programmes for GI.
The Policy establishes overarching objectives and policies in respect of the use and management of GI and provides more specific guidance as to the circumstances where GI will be utilised or encouraged in preference to traditional stormwater management approaches.
This paper outlines the development and approach of the Policy and provides an insight into implementation of it.