Assessment of water sensitive urban design (WSUD) function in Perth, WA 

Assessing the performance of water sensitive urban design (WSUD) assets (e.g., constructed wetlands, living streams, and biofiltration basins) is complex due to spatial and temporal changes that affect the biological uptake and transformation of contaminants. Many studies have shown successful removal of pollutants, but often only measure at the system inlet and outlet, limiting understanding of the functional processes that occur in between. For instance, studying sediment microbial communities provides insight into complete denitrification, and Macrophyte species also differ in pollutant uptake rates which are controlled by plant growth stages across seasons. Therefore, understanding ecological processes of WSUD systems will improve their design, as well as provide guidance for targeted maintenance and monitoring.

Despite increased investment in constructed wetlands and “living streams” in the Perth region, there is currently little ecological evidence to support their effectiveness in the area’s specific climate and physiographic conditions. To address this, our team designed and implemented a research project to investigate the performance of Nurdi Park constructed wetland and living stream. Our ecological approach focuses on understanding drivers of water quality improvement (nutrients and heavy metals) and the area’s ecological integrity.


Research Objective:

Assess the seasonal performance of a constructed wetland and living stream.

Research Outcomes:

  1. Improvement in the future design of constructed wetlands and living streams to enhance nutrient and heavy metal attenuation.
  2. Optimisation of maintenance and management of constructed wetlands and living streams.
  3. Assessment of the ecological benefits of constructed wetlands and living streams.
  4. Communication of findings to stakeholders of constructed wetlands and living streams.
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