Victorian planning requirements for stormwater management - Online Navigator Tool

This Online Navigator Tool has been developed in a partnership between the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Clearwater, 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. Note that additional local planning controls may exist that affect stormwater management requirements, and these should be discussed pre-application with the relevant local council.

This Tool was officially launched on the 25th of March, 2021 through an online launch event. A recording of this event featuring a demonstration and a walk-through of this Tool can be accessed here.

Go to the Online Navigator Tool Additional resources and FAQs


A number of planning system changes were made in October 2018 to improve existing standards for stormwater management, extending requirements to a broader range of developments and land uses, as well as subdivisions. These changes introduced new requirements for developments constructed on residential, commercial, industrial and public land, which means that most new developments will need to retain, reuse and/or treat the rain that falls on the site. If you would like more information about Victoria's Stormwater Planning Provisions visit DELWP's Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP) and Planning Advisory Note 75.

The following development types are subject to Victoria’s stormwater planning provisions through the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP):

  • Since 2006
    • Residential subdivision
  • Since 2017
    • Apartments
  • Since 2018
    • Residential multi-dwellings (e.g. townhouses)
    • Commercial subdivisions and developments
    • Industrial subdivisions and developments
    • Public use developments

These provisions ensure that stormwater generated from these forms of urban development is managed in an integrated way to mitigate the impacts of stormwater runoff on the environment, property and public safety. These provisions require (amongst other additional criteria) the application to meet ‘best practice’ standards as defined by the Urban Stormwater Best Practice Environmental Management Guidelines (‘BPEM’), which currently include:

  • 80% retention of the typical urban annual load for Suspended Solids (SS)
  • 45% retention of the typical urban annual load for Total Phosphorous (TP)
  • 45% retention of the typical urban annual load for Total Nitrogen (TN)
  • 70% reduction of typical urban annual load for Litter (any anthropogenic material larger than 5mm)
  • Maintain flows/discharges for the 1.5 year ARI at predevelopment levels

This tool is just one of a number of initiatives currently in development by DELWP to support the industry with implementing these planning policy changes. To find out more, please contact Mandy Bolton.

Development type and corresponding clause chart

The following table sets out the stormwater planning provisions for various development types and associated VPP clauses. To view the clauses in full, click on the links in the table.

[To find additional information and particular provisions related to other objectives that need to be met for particular development types click here.]

Development type
Stormwater clause
Site Management clause
(buildings and works)
At responsible authority’s discretion (65.01)**
(buildings and works)
At responsible authority’s discretion (65.01)**
Buildings and Works

* The Permeability and Stormwater Management objectives in these clauses are identical - the applicable clause is dependent on the zoning and number of storeys in the development.

** Clause 65.01 specifies decision guidelines which list matters the responsible authority must consider, as appropriate, before deciding on an application or approval of a plan. This includes consideration of whether a proposed development is designed to maintain or improve the quality of stormwater within and exiting the site. They do not apply to VicSmart permits.

Download a PDF version of the table

Best practice process flow chart for stormwater management

See below best practice process flow chart for stormwater management.

  • Step 1: Decision to develop

    Understand planning scheme obligations for your development type. Refer to Online Navigator Tool for information and guidance.

  • Step 2: Prepare a preliminary development concept

    Consider size and location of water sensitive urban design (WSUD) treatments, also site management required during construction phase.

  • Step 3: Hold a pre-application discussion with council

    These discussions are recommended, and required by some councils.

  • Step 4: Prepare concept and/or detailed design to comply with requirements

    Include site management plan (SMP) for construction phase. Refer to checklist in the Online Navigator Tool. Submit with application.

  • Step 5: Submit development application

    Council will determine if design is satisfactory. Council may request further information around WSUD design and may set permit conditions.

  • Step 6: Receive permit decision

    Permit conditions will need to be satisfied (e.g. detailed drainage design plans).

  • Step 7: Undertake construction

    Construction is undertaken in accordance with agreed plan. Install and maintain temporary sediment and erosion protection measures as per SMP.

  • Step 8: Ongoing WSUD maintenance

    Document post-occupation operational and maintenance arrangements to ensure ongoing effective operation of all WSUD treatments. This may include identifying responsibilities and provision of design details, inspection frequency and maintenance schedules to owners.

Download a PDF version of the table

Sign up for updates (Optional)

This tool has been designed to evolve and update to reflect changes in policy and include new resources. Sign up to Clearwaters's e-news to receive updates on the Tool:

If you have any feedback on this tool or would like to contact the Clearwater team, please email us.

How to use the Online Navigator Tool

This tool is made up of a series of questions for you to answer. Once completed you will be provided with resources relevant to your development, setting out what measures can be incorporated into your project to help you meet the planning provisions. You can also access the full range of this Online Navigator Tool’s resources here.

In addition to using this Online Navigator Tool, we strongly promote pre-development discussions between councils, applicants and relevant referral authorities. These discussions should be used to talk through the acceptability of any proposed treatment options and maintenance considerations.

To navigate the Tool, scroll up and down the page, using the teal banners to move back a step if you would like to change your answer to a previous question.

If you are interested to see a full view of the Tool’s many decision pathways based on the development scenario chosen, download the Online Navigator Tool Flowchart.