Retarding basins

Retarding basins play an important role in reducing flood risk to local homes and businesses. We look after more than 200 retarding basins across Greater Melbourne – learn more about how they work.

What is a retarding basin?

retarding basin with boardwalk
Retarding basin with boardwalk off Stony Hill Creek.

Retarding basins are low-lying areas of land, set aside to temporarily store stormwater during heavy rain.

Many basins are grassy areas that also provide a recreational space for the community while dry. Others hold water permanently, supporting biodiversity.

How retarding basins work

When a retarding basin fills, the landscape is designed to hold back stormwater to reduce flood risk to the surrounding area. During this time, recreational areas may be affected.

The stored water is then slowly released into the downstream drain or waterway.

Watch the following video to see a retarding basin in action:

Melbourne water manages over 200 retarding basins as part of our world class drainage system.They are designed to reduce flooding by catching heavy rainfall and hold it in a reserved low lying area of land.

Retarding Basins - transcript

retarding basin before (no water).jpg
Retarding basin before rain (no water)

retarding basin after.jpg
Retarding basin after rain

Last updated:
25 November 2021