Water Sensitive Urban Design – Guidelines for Contributions

Note 1 in the Design Notes series covering water sensitive urban design (WSUD) guidelines, issued in August 2012.

For all developments the payment of a contribution is voluntary and will only be required if the developer chooses not to implement best practice WSUD treatment facilities on site. 

Our Engineering Department acknowledges that for infill developments the implementation of onsite WSUD is not always the most practical, cost effective and environmentally effective means of achieving water quality.  Accordingly, for infill developments, we may accept contributions for WSUD in lieu of the developer designing and constructing the WSUD treatments on site.  

We will use the contributions to design and construct large scale WSUD treatments within the municipality.  Such an outcome will be more cost effective for developers and an overall better outcome for the receiving waters.

Circumstances under which a WSUD contribution can be considered

Where WSUD has been included as a condition of the planning permit the developer may choose to make the payment in lieu of providing the stormwater treatment works.  This is only available to 'infill' developments and subdivisions.  For larger style subdivisions/developments where implementing on site treatments is not practical, the Senior Development Engineer will determine where it is appropriate to take a contribution and the appropriate contribution for the development.

A WSUD contribution will only be considered for the following:

  • Residential developments – Less than one hectares
  • Industrial/commercial developments – Less than five hectares
  • A contribution will only be considered if there is room, downstream of the development and before the receiving water or trunk drain, for the future construction of treatment infrastructure.

The WSUD contribution rate and how it is determined

The WSUD contributions will be calculated using a base rate and adjusted according to the type of development, the same as the Melbourne Water contribution model. 

Where a contribution will be accepted this must be made prior to the issue of a Statement of Compliance. 

Where engineering plans need to be submitted for approval, the developer will also be required to indicate if a contribution is to be made in lieu of undertaking the works.

  • The base WSUD contribution rate is $14,000per hectare
  • The minimum contribution that will be accepted is $1,500.

The following table indicates what factors are to be applied to the Base WSUD Contribution rate depending on the development/subdivision density and type.

Typical Development
Density Ratio
Adjusted Contribution Rate
Standard residential subdivision
(Lot sizes equal to or larger than 450 square metres but less than 1,000 square metres)
High density residential subdivision
(Lots less than 450 square metres including dual occupancy)
Low density residential subdivision
(Lot sizes equal to or larger than 1,000 square metres and up to but not including 10,000 square metres)
$10, 500
School sites and prisons on plans of subdivision
Multi-unit developments
Retirement village developments
Industrial/commercial developments


The following exemptions may apply to development contributions:

  1. No contribution is payable for stage or 'super' lots on residential subdivisions where a permit has been issued for further development
  2. No contribution is payable for land set aside on plans of subdivision as drainage reserves or easement for waterways, open channels, low flow pipelines with grassed overflow channels and water quality control works where development will not occur.
  3. No contribution is payable for reserves greater in area than the standard requirements in residential subdivisions which are un-developable as a result of encumbrance (for example: electricity reserves).
  4. No contribution is payable where it can be demonstrated that previous arrangements or contribution payment has been made, appropriate to the type of subdivision or development now taking place.

How to calculate the WSUD levy

A developer wishes to as to pay a WSUD levy in lieu of designing and constructing the treatment himself.  His planning permit has a condition for the treatment of the stormwater via the use of WSUD.  His site area is 1.24ha.

Developable area: 1.24 hectares
Zone:  Industrial (Density Ratio = 1.50)
Development type:  5 lot Industrial Subdivision 
Contribution for WSUD = $14,000 per hectare x 1.24 hectares x 1.5 = $26,040

Page last updated: Friday, 6 July 2018