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Stormwater management manual

Re-occurring and escalating algal blooms and fish kills in Western Australian waterways have resulted in an increased focus on improving stormwater management. Additionally, water restrictions have resulted in more interest in stormwater reuse. Stormwater management aims to build on the traditional objective of local flood protection by having multiple outcomes, including improved water quality management, protected ecosystems, and liveable and attractive communities.

To reflect the new approach to stormwater management, the Manual for Managing Urban Stormwater Quality in Western Australia (Water and Rivers Commission 1998) has been replaced with the Stormwater Management Manual for Western Australia (Department of Water 2004-2007).

Stand-alone chapters have been produced to allow for ease of reference and updating. Please refer to the list below to access chapters of the manual.

A combination of approaches is encouraged, including 'at-source' infiltration, non-structural methods such as maintenance of structural controls and training of practitioners, use of more natural water body systems, and structural methods such as swales and infiltration basins.

The manual was developed for local government, industry, developers, State agencies, service providers and community groups. It provides policies and planning principles, as well as on-ground best practice advice. It supports and provides information to enable implementation of Western Australian Planning Commission planning policies and Environmental Protection Authority environmental policies. It also provides specific Western Australian guidance in keeping with the national guides:

  • Australian Rainfall and Runoff - a guide to flood estimation (2001);
  • Australian Runoff Quality - a guide to water sensitive urban design (2006); and
  • the National Water Quality Management Strategy No 10: Australian Guidelines for Urban Stormwater Management (2000).

Contact the Drainage & Waterways Branch on 6364 7600 to obtain CD-ROM copies of the manual.

Stormwater Management Manual for WA

Stormwater Management Manual for WA - Chapter 1 - Introduction
Describes what stormwater is and outlines the purpose of the manual, the intended audience of the manual and how the manual can help.

Stormwater Management Manual for WA - Chapter 2 - Understanding the context
Describes the reasons for improving stormwater management and provides the principles, objectives, key roles and responsibilities for stormwater management in WA.

Stormwater Management Manual for WA - Chapter 3 - Best planning practice for stormwater management
Provides references to documents that contain information about how stormwater management planning can be incorporated within the current land and water planning framework. Detailed information on the water and land use planning process including planning frameworks, policy statements and decision support tools, developed by the WA Planning Commission and the department can be found here.

Stormwater Management Manual for WA - Chapter 4 - Integrating stormwater management approaches
The Decision Process for Stormwater Management in WA provides part of the content of this chapter. It has been developed to support decision making by urban planners, local governments, State agencies, catchment management bodies and drainage service providers. More assistance for integrating stormwater management approaches is being developed as part of the Department’s urban water capacity building project. More information on water sensitive urban design can be obtained from the New WAter Ways website at

Stormwater Management Manual for WA - Chapter 5 - Stormwater management plans
Provides guidelines on the preparation, implementation and review of Stormwater Management Plans for catchment areas and local government areas. The plans address urban stormwater quantity and quality from a management perspective, rather than a development perspective, to ensure that ecological, social/cultural and economic values are protected and enhanced and that management issues are addressed in a coordinated manner.

Stormwater Management Manual for WA - Chapter 6 - Retrofitting
Explains issues to be addressed and presents tools for improving stormwater management in existing urban developments through modification of existing stormwater systems, or installation of additional/alternative stormwater management devices and approaches. Includes case studies and examples that demonstrate how to undertake retrofitting projects.

Stormwater Management Manual for WA - Chapter 7 - Non-structural controls
Describes the initiatives available to manage the quantity and reduce pollution of stormwater by optimising practices of local government operations, State Government asset managers, industrial/commercial businesses and householders, through mechanisms such as maintenance practices, regulation, strategic planning and education. Describes non-structural controls, their benefits, use, effectiveness and evaluation. Provides advice on how to select and implement non-structural controls. Provides technical guidelines on the most relevant non-structural controls.
Individual Chapter Seven Best Management Practices PDFs of individual non-structural control BMPs are also provided for your convenience.

Stormwater Management Manual for WA - Chapter 8 - Education and awareness for stormwater management
Presents ways to prepare and deliver education programs to reduce the amount of pollution that enters the stormwater system.

Stormwater Management Manual for WA - Chapter 9 - Structural controls
Describes structural measures that can be designed and located in a catchment undergoing new development or retrofitted within an existing development to manage the quantity of stormwater runoff and prevent or treat stormwater pollution. Provides an overview of the benefits, use, effectiveness and evaluation of each type of structural control. Provides information on the selection of structural controls. Provides technical guidelines on the most relevant structural controls. Includes case studies and examples. Individual PDFs Chapter 9 Introduction and Best Management Practices (BMPs) of the introduction section and individual structural control BMPs are also provided for your convenience. For more recent advice on designing biofilters (also known as bioretention systems and rain gardens), please see the Monash University's Facility for Advancing Water Biofiltration guidelines at Research into suitable plant species for biofilters in Western Australia is currently being undertaken. The bioretention systems BMP will be updated in the future to reflect the findings from Monash University and Western Australian research.

Stormwater Management Manual for WA - Chapter 10 - Performance monitoring and evaluation
Provides information on establishing a monitoring and evaluation program that tracks the trends and performance of structural and non-structural stormwater management practices. Examples are included to demonstrate the methodologies promoted in the chapter.

Stormwater Management Manual for WA - Chapter 11 - Further information
Provides a glossary of terms used in the manual and some useful contacts, websites and references for obtaining further information about stormwater management. Note: This chapter has been updated to include a new definition for Average Recurrence Interval.

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