As concern for environmental issues increases, most modern urban projects now include a Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD), which offers an alternative to the traditional conveyance approach to stormwater management. This is the case in the South East Queensland area, where the parties involved in the latest fast urban development have included the Water Sensitive Urban Design programme as a means of protecting environmental values in the region.
The Water Sensitive Urban Design programme improves the ecological condition of urban streams, catchments and receiving waters through on-site reuse of the water in a sustainable manner as well as providing temporary storage. At this stage, the effectiveness of WSUD treatment systems under real storm events is unknown due to insufficient data.
The Department of Natural Resources in Indoroopilly assesses the effectiveness of WSUD facilities at Coomera Waters on Queensland’s Gold Coast and predicts the quality of water exiting WSUD devices to the environment. The WSUD facilities include swales, a rain garden, a number of bio-retention basins and wetlands situated in an urban area. The aim is to find reliable data justifying the efficiency of the WSUD stormwater system in place. Storm flow and rainfall measurements together with water samples taken at specific times throughout the flow period will allow researchers to compare water quality parameters such as nutrients, suspended sediment and heavy metal load at inlet and outlet points in these treatment systems.
To collect the data, Department of Natural Resources has been using water samplers, pressure transducers, flow velocity sensors, tipping bucket rain gauges and custom-designed, calibrated V-Notch weirs. These sensors provide measurements of total discharge and flow rate at the weirs or creeks, water temperature, rainfall, suspended sediments and the amount of nutrients and metals in the water samples collected during flow periods.
The Campbell Scientific Aust CR1000 and CR211 data loggers employed at the Coomera Waters project use the Pakbus communication protocol to communicate by three separate radio networks. The data routed from the CR211 data loggers to the CR1000 data loggers is then made available to a Department of Natural Resources’ central PC through GSM modem connection. Multiple samples or data have been collected and Department of Natural Resources will identify the characteristics of the WSUD facilities at Coomera Waters.