Around 80 of Western Australia’s ‘who’s who’ in stormwater management assembled on the evening of 14 June to witness and participate in “The Great Debate – Pits & Pipes vs WSUD”. The idea for the event was conceived by Stormwater Western Australia and implemented as part of a series of events called “Water Industry Nights” through New WaterWAys, the Western Australian capacity building program for Water Sensitive Urban Design. It was also made possible by the sponsorship of Essential Environmental and the Department of Planning which provided the venue for the event.

The great Debate Panel

It was an expectant audience that began assembling from 5pm to enjoy the food and refreshments and discuss the issues prior to the commencement of the debate.

The WSUD team comprised Craig Wansbrough from the City of Armadale, Brett Kuhlmann from community group SERCUL and Owen Richards from AECOM.

The pits & pipes team was Steve Allen from Development Engineering Consultants, Craig Rothlietner from Urban Stormwater Technologies and (a late substitute) Helen Brookes from Essential Environmental (Stormwater WA chair).

The debate was ably mediated and facilitated by Rebecca Epworth from Cotterra Consultants.

Both sides presented compelling arguments, which sparked some lively discussions with the audience; however the purpose of the evening was to share views and have some fun in the process. Topics raised included that the Romans commenced using the pit-pipe method which drew the response ‘and what happened to them’?

To be fair to all the debate was declared a draw as it wasn’t really about one technology being preferred or superior to the other, rather that designs should address the most suitable criteria and hydrological conditions for the site.

The success of the night was in the networking that occurred which was demonstrated by the numbers that stayed on to continue the discussions and finish off the remainder of the food and refreshments.