Support to the Land Development in Groundwater Constrained Landscapes Steering Group

Project aims

This project provides technical and administrative support to the Land Development in Groundwater Constrained Landscapes Steering Group.

The Steering Group was established to develop and implement an action plan to improve the efficiency of use of fill in urban development through investigation of, and identified improvements in, current legislation, regulations, policies, standards, codes, criteria and/or other influences that impact on the need for fill.

Project progress:

The Steering Group has successfully developed and released the IPWEA draft specification: Separation distances for groundwater controlled urban development.

The last meeting of the Steering Group was held in June 2017. The meeting included a review of sites where the draft specification has been applied since its release and a discussion of comments recieved. Proponents are encouraged to provide formal feedback via the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage consultation site which can be found here:

So far the specification has received broad industry support with some good recommendations for improvement. One of these recommendations is for the inclusion of design guidance for subsurface drainage systems which is now in development and will be discussed further at the next meeting of the Steering Group scheduled for November 2017.

Project outline

Urban development continues to be sought on land with relatively high groundwater.  On such sites fill is often used to create level sites, improve the site classification, establish suitable grades for services and drainage and provide a buffer from catchment floodwaters and underlying groundwater.  The increasing cost and decreasing availability of traditional sources of fill means that alternate approaches need to be examined to optimise the use of this scarce resource.

To enable a holistic assessment of the need for fill it is proposed to develop and manage a project that will investigate the contributing factors, including:

  • The urban form (e.g. building practices, service infrastructure requirements, lot sizes, road reserve widths and public open space sizing, etc)
  • Surface water and groundwater factors (e.g. catchment flooding, topography, soil properties)
  • Changes to the water balance (loss of evapotranspiration, increased runoff and recharge)

Project members

  • Institute of Public Works Engineers Australasia
  • Western Australian Local Government Association
  • Department of Planning
  • Department of Water
  • Housing Industry Association
  • Master Builders Association
  • Urban Development Industry Association
  • WA Chapter of the Association of Hydraulic Services Consultants, Australia
  • Water Corporation

Member commitments

  • Nominate a knowledgeable high level representative, and proxy to attend meetings
  • Attend meetings as required, initially monthly during project establishment
  • Communicate to and coordinate responses from staff within their organisation
  • Keep discussions confidential, excluding internal organisation communications

Meetings are convened according to the needs of the work program.