PAUL BARNETT DESIGN GROUP
WATER SENSITIVE URBAN DESIGN

WATER SENSITIVE URBAN DESIGN

Waterharvested natural biomimicry naturescapes are a Water Sensitive Urban Design practice that becomes micro-forests after 10 years of growth. The subterranean water harvested trench system feeds the roots of trees, allowing them to grow into habitats for children, animals, and insects 3 times the rate of normal trees in Canberra.

Waterharvesting is the collection, infiltration, retention, filtering and management of water both above and below the ground. Water is retained within the landscape and allowed to permeate the subsoil while also managing the drainage of any excess to existing man-made or natural drainage systems.

Below the ground of naturescapes, sculptured landscapes capture all rainwater and surface runoff water in an underground labyrinth of waterharvesting trench systems that elevate soil moisture content and enhance the growth of plants.

Daramalan Water Sensitive Urban Design Section
Benefits
  • Water volume is retained and held within the soil profile and is thus available for plant growth
  • Water quality is enhanced as water is filtered through the soil profile
  • Soil fauna health is enhanced through the availability of more soil moisture in drought conditions
  • Water is managed in flood conditions with some alleviation of flood volumes downstream
  • The health and growth of plants are enhanced creating more growth and stronger more drought resistant plants
  • Contaminated water can be treated on-site and prevented from entering natural systems untreated
Orana Steiner School Naturescapes 5 years after completion
Performance
  • Roots of plants and trees will penetrate deeply into the moist soil over the next few years and growth rates increase and health of the plants increase.
  • Trees will grow 3-4 times the normal rate of growth due to the increased moisture content of the soil.
  • Soil biodiversity increases with higher moisture levels which sustain more microbial life.
  • Natural biodiversity of plants and animals will increase.
  • Comparable to a Rainforest in terms of growth rate and diversity
Soil Organisms and Health

Traditionally the biome of any landscape generally refers to the life forms that occur on and above the surface of the ground. It is well known that soil composition and the structure along with the composition, prevalence and health of soil fauna is pivotal to the health of the life forms above the ground. Over the last decade or so, the interaction of soil organisms with surface plant and their roots has been the subject of intense study. The knowledge being accumulated suggests that we are only just beginning to understand what a profound effect these soil organism/plant roots relationships have on the health and resilience of any landscape.

Majura Naturescape swales after rain

St Jude’s Transportable creek bed after rain
Frogs and Nature’s Health

Frogs are a sign of the health of an ecosystem. There are 208 species of frogs in Australia and they live in moist, shaded areas so that they can cover their skin with slime and can burrow into the soil. If you have frogs, you have a clean natural environment. As one of nature’s voices, when you hear a frog croak, nature is healthy.

Within a few short days of the completion of the naturescape and waterharvested dry creekbeds at St Jude’s Transportable, frogs started appearing and nestling themselves into this habitat. We like to think that the frogs had waited to move into their new home after the renovation. Now a variety of different fauna shares the space with the children at St Jude’s Primary, creating an ecosystem that is perfect for educating curious and creative little minds.

See other Water Sensitive Urban Design related News here