Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) treatment devices are often used to restore natural drainage properties in developed catchments. WSUD can make positive contributions to the restoration of natural ecosystem processes, by supporting trees and habitats in urban areas without taking up limited urban space. This paper reports on the development and testing of a new WSUD device, the Wicking Tank. It is designed to supply sufficient volumes of water to urban trees through periods of drought via synthetic wicks from an underground storage tank to support adequate tree health. Relying on gravity fed stormwater, and the natural capillarity, adhesion, and cohesion properties of water and the process of hydraulic redistribution, water is transferred from the tank and into the rhizosphere of the tree. Water demand is controlled passively by the water potential differential across the root zone. Proof of concept testing of the Wicking Tank has shown the device to successfully draw water into soil to support the ongoing survival of a potted plant for over 20 weeks. Substantial differences are anticipated between this proof of concept test and an in-situ
field trial. A field-based demonstration style version of the Wicking Tank is planned for construction and testing in 2015.
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