New bioretention trial street tree planted in Pelican Waters

The environment of street trees in urban areas can be harsh as large amounts of impervious surfaces, like footpaths and roads, prevent water from reaching trees and hard structures obstruct roots and prevent trees from growing. At the same time, increasing urbanisation has resulted in more surface water in cities, which can result in increased pollution and erosion in our creeks and rivers.

Utilising readily available stormwater rather than potable water to irrigate street trees provides a simple solution to these issues. Water Wise Street Trees use passive irrigation technology to connect street trees to a free, fit for purpose supply of stormwater from the gutter. Water Wise Street Trees are being installed across Queensland with funding from the State Government in partnership with Brisbane, Ipswich, Mackay and Townsville Councils and developers in Ipswich and the Sunshine Coast.

Installing Water Wise Street Trees within the streetscape improves the vitality of trees and provides benefits to the community and environment. Water Wise Street Trees can experience double the growth rate and increased canopy size (8-10 times larger) compared to regular street trees, and have an increased lifespan (from 13 to 50 years).

Water Wise Street Trees reduce maintenance costs and the need for active irrigation as they rely on stormwater. In turn, this reduces the impact of stormwater on the environment, provides local microclimate cooling benefits and helps to achieve stormwater quality objectives.

A new bioretention trial street tree has been planted in Pelican Waters on the Sunshine Coast with the aim of improving sales of lots in the development. The tree in Pelican Waters will treat stormwater while maintaining the appearance of the street. Learn more about how this Water Wise Street Tree was built and how it works in the new video below.


The technology used to build Water Wise Street Trees is versatile and  Healthy Land and Water’s Water by Design team has seen a wide variety of designs. The next stage of this project includes releasing a second Water Wise Street Trees booklet. The Corporate Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities (CRC WSC) has recently released their Passive Irrigation Guidelines.

For more information about Water Wise Street Trees and to keep up to date with the project, please visit the Water by Design website. To watch or share any of the Water By Design videos, please click here.

This project is supported by the Queensland Government.

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