Located in Mt Barker, South Australia, the Newenham Estate is one of the State’s largest master-planned residential developments exceeding 1,000 lots, with over 90 % over 750 sqm.
Wide landscaped streets, deep verges, large-scale blocks, frontages and orientations play a part in the open space philosophy for this rural residential setting. A unique site, Newenham is located upon an existing watercourse with large mature trees that bisect the site, acting as a linear park. Forming part of the site’s rejuvenation, the surrounding urban landscape upon completion will be complemented by walking trails, boardwalks, extensive landscaping, stormwater detention basins and wetlands.
Since project commencement in 2013, WGA has provided masterplanning and engineering design for 14 stages encompassing approximately 350 lots, boardwalk and linear path design, 2 wetlands and biofiltration basin design, 2 detention basins design, headworks design for stormwater, watermain and sewer, DIT intersection design with Flaxley Rd and concept designs for a new commercial precinct. WGA has undertaken the contract administration and superintendence role for all aspects built to date.
Water Sensitive Urban Design
The innovation lies in the management approach taken to plan and integrate water sensitive urban design (WSUD) techniques throughout the planned development. These techniques have been selected to be responsive to address future impacts and to restore a balanced approach to negating the impacts the proposed urban development will have on the creek.
Several techniques employed within the strategy are considered innovative and a first in South Australia to be adopted in an urban development. The approach is considered innovative as it represents a significant departure from the traditional or conventional stormwater management approach that does not address the typical negative impacts of greenfield development on existing natural creek systems.
The key aspect of the stormwater strategy is to provide a “degree of “disconnection” between the urban drainage networks to the creek. This requires an approach that utilises techniques that can manage or retain the frequent rainfall events close to their source through infiltration, retention and reduce the urban catchment’s response time to drain to the creek.
Ultimately, the approach protects the watercourse’s environmental integrity through the use of green infrastructure. One such technique that is new is the ecological sponge. These are multiple small-scale wetlands located within the riparian zone designed to infiltrate into underlying soils to create base flow to the watercourse. These systems will be wet and dry throughout the year, and highly biologically productive systems that are living systems contributing to habitat, biodiversity and environmental value along the Western Flat Creek.
Recognising the innovative efforts that have gone into creating a flourishing community that meets and upholds the demands of both residents and the wider community, WGA was awarded the award for Excellence in Strategic and Master Planning for the Newenham Land Development at the 2018 Stormwater South Australia Excellence Awards and also won the Minister’s Award for Excellence in Sustainable Water Management at the Water Industry Alliance Smart Water Awards in 2019. Newenham Estate was also awarded Best Residential Development and Marketing Excellence at the UDIA SA 2020 Awards for Excellence.