Water Sensitive Urban Design


A/Prof David McCarthy

Research opportunities

Focus areas

Widespread adoption of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) principles is critical to ensure water supply security and liveable cities under population growth and a changing climate. This subtheme is focusing on a number of challenges associated with transitioning to WSUD. Socio-technical models are being developed for applications such as envisaging urban water management scenarios and quantifying flood risk. Technologies for treating and recycling multiple water streams (stormwater, wastewater, groundwater) as well as protecting and rehabilitating urban waterways are being designed and tested, with a particular focus on biofilters and living walls. WSUD systems and urban waterways are also being monitored to demonstrate their performance.


To maintain leadership in the development and testing of WSUD technologies and modelling tools.


To facilitate widespread adoption of WSUD for water supply security and enhanced liveability of cities under population growth and a changing climate.

Research highlights

Awards and Honours

  • A/Prof David McCarthy was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship in 2009 to travel to the USA, Canada and Japan to investigate new technologies for stormwater treatment for reuse purposes
  • Dr Chunhui Lu was the recipient of the 2012 Vice-Chancellor's Early Career Researcher Award, Flinders University
  • A/Prof David McCarthy won a FASIC Fellowship from the Australian Academy of Science in 2012 to travel to France to investigate micropollutant fate and transport in urban water systems


Learning resources

Selected projects

  • Deletic, A., Brown, R., Rauch, W., McCarthy, D., Schilizz, S., Urich, C., 2012-2015, A4.3: Socio-technical modelling tools to examine urban water management scenarios, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, AU$938k
  • Walsh, C., Stewardson, M., Hatt, B., 2012-2014, B2.1: Cities as Water Supply Catchments: Stream ecology, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, AU$832k
  • Deletic, A., McCarthy, D., Hatt, B., Daly, E., Henry, R., Schang, C., 2013-2014, C1.1: Sustainable Technologies, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, AU$968k
  • Deletic, A., McCarthy, D., Cook, P., Hatt, B., Hipsey, M., 2014-2017, C4.1: Integrated multi-functional urban water systems, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, AU$907k
  • McCarthy, D., Deletic, A., Henry, R., Kolotelo, P., Schang, C., 2012-2015, Sinks and Sources of Faecal Micro-Organisms in the Yarra River Estuary, ARC Linkage & Melbourne Water, AU$891k
  • Zhang, X., Deletic, A., McCarthy, D., 2014-2016, Development of Solar-induced, Dark-active Photocatalytic Membranes for Stormwater reuse, ARC Discovery, AU$390k
  • McCarthy, D., 2014-2016, Interactions between plants and faecal pathogens in urban water treatment: significance of soil microbes, plant debris, root exudates and rhizosphere, ARC DECRA, AU$395k


Academic staff

Dr Edoardo Daly
A/Prof David McCarthy
A/Prof Valentijn Pauwels
Dr Christian Urich

Research staff

Dr Peter Bach
A/Prof Peter Breen
Ms Gayani Chandrasena
Dr  Cintia  Dotto
Dr Rebekah Henry
Mr Peter Kolotelo
Mr Peter Poelsma
Ms Christelle Schang
Mr Richard Williamson
Dr Yaron Zinger

Postgraduate students

Jeddah Breman
Wenjun Feng (Kent)
Harsha Fowdar
Bonnie Glaister
Dusan Jovanovic
Harpreet Kandra
Anna Lintern
Michael Poustie
Mahbubul Siddiqee
Minna Tom

Key facilities