The Impacts of Urbanisation on Catchment Hydrology and Opportunities for Stream Health Restoration through Focussed Catchment Retrofit

(2009 – current)
Matthew Burns

The health of urban waterways is typically degraded due to both water quality pollution and the hydrologic impacts of catchment urbanisation (e.g. increased frequency/magnitude of stormwater runoff, decreased infiltration and evapotranspiration etc). Of these, water quality pollution has received the most attention, with attempts to restore the pre-development flow regime often being considered “too hard”.  Recently however, greater effort has been expended in developing technologies and methods which aim to improve the health of urban waterways through addressing the hydrologic impacts of urbanisation. However, the actual performance of such technologies, and how they add up to change overall catchment hydrology, is not yet well quantified.

Matthew’s PhD will aim to improve our understanding of how such technologies and methods perform at smaller scales (e.g. allotment and streetscape) and how these impacts scale-up. It is hoped that this work will provide a more robust basis for management actions aimed at improving the health of urban waterways.

This research will feed into the Little Stringybark Creek project, within the Ecosystem Dynamics Program, which aims to protect and restore a stream (Little Stringybark Creek) through stormwater harvesting, integrated with stormwater filtration and infiltration techniques.  See the Little Stringybark Creek Section of this website for more information on this research program.

Prof Tim Fletcher, Dr Belinda Hatt, Dr Tony Ladson and Assoc Prof Chris Walsh (University of Melbourne)

Publications (link)