Click here to return to the Online Navigator Tool homepage.

This page provides an overview of a selection of some of the best available guidelines, tool and resources to guide professionals to the specific information they need when integrating Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) in new developments.

This page will be regularly updated as new resources become available.


  • Development types and corresponding stormwater planning clause
  • Planning Application Flow Chart
  • Particular Provisions chart
  • VicPlan (DELWP) - view, query and create your own property reports
  • BESS (CASBE) - assessment tool created by Victorian local governments to assist builders and developers to show how a proposed development demonstrates sustainable design
  • Planning Schemes Online - Victoria Planning Provisions (DELWP)
  • Using Victoria’s planning system (DELWP) - Learn about the planning system in Victoria and find helpful documentation to assist you in understanding it
  • Residential subdivision provisions (Clause 56, DELWP) – clause 56 sets out the integrated water management requirements that must be met for residential subdivision proposals in an urban area
  • Planning Advisory Note 75 (DELWP) - provides information about the changes made to the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP) and all planning schemes by Amendment VC154 to introduce new stormwater management provisions for urban development and amend State planning policies related to integrated water management
  • Better Apartments Design Standards (DELWP) - improve the liveability and sustainability of apartments across Victoria. The standards set out how apartments can be designed to provide good functional places to live
  • Melbourne Water - Planning and Building - understand Melbourne Water’s requirements, use their self-help tools to calculate costs and apply online to plan your project. Plus plenty of guides and resources

Stormwater Report checklists and development scenarios

Stormwater site layout plan, catchment areas and WSUD treatment systems

Modelling to demonstrate compliance

  • MUSIC is a computer model representing a project or catchment area, the drainage connections and a series of stormwater treatments. It simulates rainfall and runoff at six-minute intervals over at least one year, and then treatment by sediment basins, wetlands and other water sensitive urban design measures.
    • Purchase MUSIC from eWater (training courses also available).
    • Melbourne Water’s MUSIC Guidelines provides guidance on modelling approaches and input parameters for MUSIC models submitted to Melbourne Water
    • MUSIC Auditor Tool - as part of the assessment of the development application the assessor can use this tool to review the MUSIC file submitted
  • STORM - The general public can use the STORM calculator to design small residential and commercial developments, ensuring they achieve the stormwater treatment objectives required by state and local government planning provisions
  • Insite Water - website toolkit designed for single lots on sites up to 1 ha. Guides you through every part of Best Practice IWM design

Functional design considerations

Site management plan

Asset maintenance program

  • Stormwater Victoria WSUD Audit Guidelines - describes how to undertake audits of WSUD assets to determine their condition and identify maintenance and renewal requirements
  • Maintenance Manual Rainwater Tank, (Port Phillip) - lists the key tasks required to maintain a domestic rainwater tank and the recommended frequency of each task
  • Maintenance Manual Raingarden (Port Phillip) - lists the key tasks required to maintain a domestic raingarden and the recommended frequency of each task
  • WSUD Maintenance Guidelines (Melbourne Water) - these guidelines provide simple, standardised guidance for designing and implementing maintenance programmes for WSUD assets
  • Constructed Wetlands Design Manual (Melbourne Water) – to help the land development industry and professionals who design, construct and establish constructed wetlands

Case studies and additional checklists

Online Navigator Tool – FAQs


What does this Tool do?

This Online Navigator Tool has been developed to assist local planning authorities, developers, consultants, planning permit applicants and broader industry practitioners to identify what statewide stormwater planning provisions apply to subdivision or buildings and works developments within Victoria.

Does this tool cover all kinds of WSUD (Water Sensitive Urban Design) and Stormwater planning guidelines for individual Councils as well?

No. This tool covers all WSUD and stormwater management planning requirements for the state of Victoria. Further to these state-wide stormwater planning provisions, there may be Council-specific planning requirements or guidelines for stormwater management (including on-site detention requirements) that might apply. It is advised that you consult your local council regarding these as part of pre-application discussions.

Why have new stormwater management provisions been introduced?

The new provisions ensure that stormwater generated from all forms of urban development, not just residential subdivision and apartment developments, is managed in an integrated way to mitigate the impacts of stormwater runoff on the environment, property and public safety, and to provide cooling, local habitat and amenity benefits.

What are stormwater assessments and why are they required?

Where stormwater management planning requirements apply, planning permit applicants need to demonstrate their compliance with these requirements. This generally entails preparing and submitting a Stormwater Report to the relevant council, to be assessed as part of the overall planning application. Assessment of stormwater management is important as urban development typically increased the amount of stormwater runoff and associated pollutants which, if not appropriately managed, can cause environmental, social and economic impacts. This includes risks to human and waterway health, amenity, property and liveability.

Why is stormwater management important?

The increase in stormwater from urban development can impact the health and amenity of our waterways. Large volumes of stormwater entering our waterways can cause flooding that damages both natural and built environments. Traditional stormwater management practices direct stormwater into drainage systems that are directly connected to urban waterways, carrying pollutants to our rivers and bays. Stormwater flows also impact waterways by scouring creek and riverbeds and degrading aquatic habitat through unnatural flows. Newer ‘Water Sensitive Urban Design’ techniques reduce these impacts and also make better use of stormwater as a resource, which saves wasting water.

Where can I find information about planning schemes?

Where can I find more support?

Your local council planning department can provide more information on the stormwater management requirements relating to your development site.
Also check out the Victorian Stormwater Planning Requirements - Resources on this page.

Will an assessment report from this portal be mandatory for every planning permit application?

No, a report from this portal is not mandatory for planning permit applications. This portal is a non-statutory support tool to provide guidance to applicants and assessors.


Can I develop my own Stormwater Assessment report or do I need a qualified professional to do it?

While you can develop your own Stormwater Assessment report, we highly recommend consulting a suitably qualified professional to get this report done so as to ensure accurate assessment, swift Council/local Government approval and best implementation of Water Sensitive Urban Design.

The Online Navigator Tool covers all state-level provisions for best practice stormwater management. If I follow guidelines provided by this tool, would I still need to consult my local council regarding stormwater management?

It is highly recommended that you consult your local council regarding stormwater management as further to state-wide stormwater planning provisions, there may be Council-specific planning requirements for stormwater management that might apply (as well as additional on-site detention requirements). It is recommended that this be confirmed directly with the relevant local council as part of pre-application discussions. It is also noted that there is a general planning requirement for applications to demonstrate how they have been designed to maintain or improve the quality of stormwater within and exiting the site.


I am not sure what zone my development site is in.

If you are unsure of the zoning of your site, access the VicPlan tool administered by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. By using the search function and entering in your address, you can generate your own planning property report setting out applicable zones, overlays, utilities and other useful information. If you are still unsure of the relevant zone, please contact your local council.

My zone is not listed in the tool.

If your zone is not listed in the Online Navigator Tool, a Stormwater Assessment may be required, based on the specific requirements of the zone and any schedules which may apply. It is recommended that you contact Council to confirm this directly.

In what scenario a Stormwater Assessment would be required for a UGZ (Urban Growth Zone)?

A Stormwater Assessment may be required if an approved Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) applies. The applicable stormwater planning provisions are determined by the future land use identified in the PSP for the site, and the “applied zone” listed in the zone schedule for that land use.
More information on the Urban Growth Zone and PSPs can be found here:

How can I know if a Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) applies to the Urban Growth Zone (UGC) where I am planning to build?

All PSPs, together with their current status, can be identified via the VPA’s Interactive Status Map at:

Do I still need a Stormwater Assessment if my development site is located within a Melbourne Water Development Services Scheme (DSS)?

In Development Services Schemes (DSSs), Melbourne Water holistically plans stormwater management for the whole catchment-based scheme area, with developers contributing to scheme costs. If your development site is located within a Melbourne Water Development Services Scheme (DSS), the relevant planning policies still apply. However, the DSS will generally address most of the stormwater management planning requirements through the proposed scheme works (this should be clarified with the relevant council).
To find out if your development site is located within a DSS, visit:

Modelling tools (STORM, MUSIC, INSITE WATER)

What is STORM?

Melbourne Water has developed the Stormwater Treatment Objective- Relative Measure (STORM) Calculator as a method of simplifying the analysis of stormwater treatment methods. The STORM Calculator is designed for the general public to easily assess Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) measures on their property.
The tool has been developed specifically for small residential and industrial developments to rate how well different properties treat stormwater and to compare them against a common measurement system. STORM can be used to assess whether best practice water quality objectives have been achieved for your site. Results of STORM assessments can be submitted to statutory authorities along with development applications to demonstrate compliance with objectives.
You can access STORM here:
More information on STORM:

What is MUSIC?

MUSIC stands for Model for Urban Stormwater Improvement Conceptualisation. It is a computer model representing a project or catchment area, the drainage connections and a series of stormwater treatments. It simulates rainfall, stormwater runoff and pollution and is used for large scale, more complex projects.
To learn more about MUSIC visit:

What is Insite Water?

InSite Water is an integrated water management (IWM) and stormwater assessment tool for use on single lots or small-scale development sites (less than 10,000 square metres).
To know more about InSite visit:

What is the difference between MUSIC and STORM?

The STORM (Stormwater Treatment Objective - Relative Measure) calculator is typically used to model stormwater treatments for smaller developments and subdivisions, while MUSIC (Model for Urban Stormwater Improvement Conceptualisation) is used for more complex projects. Specifically, STORM can only model one treatment per sub-catchment area, whereas MUSIC can modelled a ‘treatment train’ (multiple WSUD treatment types in sequence).
STORM was originally developed based on MUSIC modelling.
The STORM calculator is a simplified version used to design small residential and commercial developments, ensuring they achieve the stormwater treatment objectives required by state and local government planning provisions.
MUSIC itself is more sophisticated and allows the user to adjust many design dimensions and model a series of treatments.
To learn more about MUSIC and STORM visit:


Do I need to include a Site Management Plan (SMP) for a permit for Subdivision?

Some Councils might specify permit conditions requiring submission and approval of a Site Management Plan demonstrating how erosion and sediment run-off to drains is to be managed during construction to maintain the quality of stormwater exiting the site. Including a SMP in your application for a permit may help expedite the process. You can have a discussion with your Council asking if a SMP will be required for your development.

Once in place, does a Stormwater Management system need any ongoing maintenance?

Yes. It is suggested that you document post-occupation operational and maintenance arrangements to ensure ongoing effective operation of all WSUD treatments / stormwater management systems. This may include identifying responsibilities and provision of design details, inspection frequency and maintenance schedules to owners.

Definitions & Abbreviations

SMP – Site Management Plan
A plan demonstrating how erosion and sediment run-off from the development site will be managed during construction to maintain the quality of stormwater exiting the site.
PPF – Planning Policy Framework
The PPF is the policy content of planning schemes. It includes part of the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP) in the form of state and regional planning policies and local content in the form of local planning policies.
Stormwater is rainwater run-off from land, including roofs, roads and buildings
In a natural environment, soil absorbs much of the rainfall and plants reduce runoff by assisting infiltration, intercepting precipitation as it falls, and by taking up water through their roots.
In developed environments, where most soil is covered with hard surfaces, stormwater runoff is conveyed directly to nearby streams, rivers, or other water bodies without treatment. In such environments unmanaged stormwater can create major issues like flooding, pollution and habitat destruction through unnatural flow regimes.
Stormwater Management
This is the control of stormwater in an effort to reduce runoff from impervious surfaces and improve water quality, to reflect a more natural (pre urban) water cycle. Thereby reducing pollution and the risk of flooding.
IWM – Integrated Water Management
Is the process of creating holistic strategies to address impacts of climate change, urbanisation and other water challenges at the regional and local level, with the ability to scale from buildings to entire catchments. Integrated Water Management addresses all water ‘streams’ within the water cycle, including stormwater, waste water and potable (drinking) water.
WSUD – Water Sensitive Urban Design
Is a land planning and engineering design approach which integrates the urban water cycle, including stormwater, groundwater and wastewater management and water supply, into urban design to minimise environmental degradation and improve aesthetic and recreational appeal. It is a means of achieving Stormwater Management or Integrated Water Management requirements.
ESD – (in construction) Ecologically Sustainable Development or Environmentally Sustainable Design
Is the practice of designing property and infrastructure to achieve minimal impact on the environment both initially and in the long term.
PSP – Precinct Structure Plan
PSPs are master plans for localised development and investment that will occur over many years, and will incorporate any relevant directions already outlined in the higher level Framework Plan. PSPs provide more specific detail regarding how existing important features of local communities such roads, shopping centres, schools, parks, key transport connections and areas for housing and employment may evolve or transform over time and become better integrated. PSPs will usually be the mechanism for providing direction on any planning zone changes and they will also identify the need for new or additional infrastructure to support increased housing and employment, along with funding mechanisms such as council infrastructure contributions charges. For more details visit:
VPP – Victoria Planning Provisions
These are the planning policies and controls upon which all land use planning decisions in Victoria are based. For more information visit:
BPEM - Best Practice Environmental Management Guidelines for Urban Stormwater
These have resulted from a collaboration between State government agencies, local government and leading research institutions. The guidelines have been designed to meet the needs of people involved in the planning, design or management of urban land uses or stormwater drainage systems. They provide guidance in ten key areas: Environmental performance objectives; Stormwater management planning; Land use planning; Water sensitive urban design; Construction site management; Business surveys; Education and awareness; Enforcement; Structural treatment measures; and Flow management.
While developed specifically for application in Victoria, Australia, the information will be of value to stormwater managers everywhere.