Kate Harriden

Kate Harriden

An Australian National University PhD Scholar and Wiradjuri women, Kate enjoys playing in storm water channels. She enjoys playing in creeks more, and dreams of concrete-free storm water systems. But knowing that is not going to happen, her research investigates the potential of small-scale in-channel nature-based solutions to improve the water quality outcomes of open storm water channels.

Designer Storm Water Drains: WSUD for In-Channel Modifications

For WSUD to fulfil its ‘all scales’ philosophy working within the channels, drains and pipes of the storm water system, with small-scale infrastructure, will become commonplace.  At this scale, the lack of resilience in the river/storm water system will quickly become evident, making in-channel interventions particularly important for sites where concrete storm water channels must exist.  That is, if concrete storm water channels are to remain concrete channels, then resilience needs to be built in, at that scale.   Nature-based solutions (NBS) offer an alternative to adopting more highly-engineered approaches to develop that resilience.

Currently, few small-scale WSUD interventions are available for the in-channel scale.  Some interventions may look small but require significant changes for them to be established.   For example, artificial channel riffles require significant volumes of soil to be removed, and moved, affecting geomorphology, habitat and water quality.  Such interventions do not seem to be faithful to the intent of resilience.   Storm water channels offer many suitable sites for small-scale interventions that could enhance system resilience, including the potential for improved water quality.   WSUD-infrastructure at strategic sites in storm water systems potentially fill the gaps left by the catchment-wide focus common to WSUD projects.

This presentation will argue the importance of investigating storm water channel as sites for small-scale in-channel WSUD friendly interventions, to improve both the resilience and functioning of the underlying natural system.  It will provide an example of a potential small-scale, in-channel infrastructure that incorporates elements promoting resilience, including increasing connectivity, habitat heterogeneity and refugia (Looy, Tonkin Floury, Leigh et al. 2018).


Van Looy, K.., Tonkin, D., Floury, M., Leigh, C. et al (2019) The three Rs of river ecosystem resilience: Resources, recruitment, and refugia River Research and Applications 35:2 DOI: 10.1002/rra.3396

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.