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MUSIC – model for urban stormwater improvement conceptualisation – is designed to help urban stormwater professionals visualise possible strategies to tackle urban stormwater hydrology and pollution impacts.

MUSIC v6 now available

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Product info

As an aid to decision-making, MUSIC predicts the performance of stormwater quality management systems. It is intended to help organisations plan and design (at a conceptual level) appropriate urban stormwater management systems for their catchments.

"MUSIC is an easy to use modelling tool for both simple and highly complex urban stormwater systems using water sensitive urban design.  It can simulate urban stormwater systems ranging from a suburban block up to a whole suburb or town (0.01 km2 to 100km2). The time scale can start at 6 minutes and stretch up to 24 hours.  

Version 6

"The improvements in Version 6 provide greater flexibility for modelling innovative stormwater reuse systems and simplify tasks like sediment basin design." 

– Dr Dale Browne, Senior Engineer, E2Designlab


View MUSIC v6 flyer (PDF 574kb)


MUSIC version 6 features MUSIC-link, a time-saving feature which pre-loads Council requirements into MUSIC, for use by developers designing stormwater systems, and provides reports for Council staff checking the compliance of stormwater designs. MUSIC v6 also has improved usability and integrates many design calculations previously done outside the software.

Key features introduced in MUSIC v6 allow users to:

  • apply MUSIC-link: customised functionality to benefit councils and WSUD consultants;
  • import external time-series flow data on source nodes, and then use MUSIC to predict water quality;
  • specify an initial volume for all storage nodes; in earlier versions of MUSIC you had to assume the storage was full at the beginning of a run — now MUSIC v6 provides greater flexibility;
  • include a maximum drawdown limit for all storage nodes with stormwater harvesting options — to preserve wetland plants, for instance;
  • estimate the surface area for a sedimentation basin and the inlet volume for wetland nodes, allowing you to design these stormwater features using WSUD guidelines within MUSIC;
  • add multiple rainwater tanks (with the same properties) in a model, improving usability;
  • include flow-based capture efficiency for the gross pollutant trap and generic nodes, allowing for improved handling of pollutants;
  • apply additional properties in the vegetated swale node, including swale capacity; this means it is easier to see the results of changing parameters, so modellers can better understand the characteristics of swales without reference to external software or calculations;
  • better apply treatment nodes with storage, which now have improved reuse functionality;
  • make use of enhanced command-line-run functionalities; and
  • better use flux files, which now include the time-step timestamp, and are now also saved to the .csv file format, to improve their usability.
MUSIC v6 includes MUSIC-link



Designing urban development proposals that meet Water Sensitive Urban Design Standards has been made easier with the release of the new version of the urban stormwater software, MUSIC v6. 

From governments to catchment management groups, many organisations have introduced initiatives to protect the aquatic environment of urban areas. While the initial focus was on point sources of pollution, such as sewage discharge and industrial effluent, attention has now turned to diffuse sources of pollution, such as urban stormwater. Indeed, stormwater runoff is recognised as a major carrier of urban pollutants.

It is difficult to prevent stormwater from damaging and polluting creeks because runoff can be contaminated almost anywhere rain falls, and excessive flows will occur wherever there are impervious surfaces directly connected to waterways. Consequently, successful initiatives to manage stormwater must adopt a catchment-wide approach, with a particular focus on tackling the sources of stormwater runoff at or near their source. The diffuse sources of stormwater pollution also demand a multi-disciplinary approach. Successful initiatives may need to integrate a range of urban planning and design disciplines, including urban hydrology, land-use planning, landscape design and asset life-cycle economics.

MUSIC can model a wide range of treatment devices to find the best way to capture and resuse stormwater runoff, remove its contaminants, and reduce the frequency of runoff. MUSIC helps you to evaluate these treatment devices until the best combination of cost, hydrology and water quality improvement is achieved.

treatment_bioretentionBioretention systems
These are vegetated stormwater filtration systems that use a soil or sand-based filtration medium to remove particulates and soluble contaminants. The system may be lined or unlined and may or may not have an underdrain. In MUSIC v4, based on significant extra data and research, bioretention nodes take better account of the characteristics of the filter media and vegetation. MUSIC users can now more accurately design or represent a variety of different bioretention systems.

treatment_infiltration-systemInfiltration systems
Unvegetated infiltration systems, for removing contaminants, which have no underdrain. MUSIC v4 offers a greatly enhanced infiltration modelling capacity to account for horizontal flows from storage and allow for changes in flow with depth. There is greater flexibility to model systems with lined sides or base.

treatment_media-filtrationMedia filtration systems
Unvegetated stormwater filtration systems for removing contaminants, using media such as gravel, sand or other fine granular material. They are assumed always to have an outlet pipe (underdrain). MUSIC v4 was the first MUSIC version to include this as a treatment node.

treatment_gross-pollutant-trapGross pollutant traps
These mesh-like devices are designed to remove floating and suspended rubbish and debris above 5mm in size. Many are proprietary off-the-shelf items.

treatment_bufferBuffer strips
Strips of vegetated land beside a road are effective in the removal of coarse and medium-size suspended particles; they provide good pre-treatment prior to a bioretention system or other vegetated treatment measures.

treatment_swaleVegetated swales
Open channels that use vegetation to primarily remove suspended solids. Subject to high flows, they rely on shallow slopes and the density and height of vegetation, to work well.

treatment_pondPonds and sedimentation basins
Open water bodies act as temporary stores to allow the settling of suspended solids. They can include ornamental ponds, but usually lack vegetation. Reuse of the water is an option.

treatment_rainwater-tankRainwater tanks
These domestic water stores enable roof runoff to be captured and used. Contaminants can either settle in the tank or are removed when the water is used on a garden. Tanks can reduce stormwater flows and help to counteract the increase in impervious area that urbanisation brings. They also provide an alternative water supply.

These are heavily vegetated water bodies; the physical, chemical and biological processes that they facilitate remove fine suspended sediment and soluble and insoluble contaminants. Wetlands are commonly used as ‘end of pipe’ measures, but recent research shows they also work well earlier on. 
MUSIC can also model reuse of the water in a wetland’s permanent pool.


Detention basin node iconDetention basin
Assists in stormwater peak flow management. New in version 5.

treatment_genericGeneric treatment nodes
MUSIC allows the user to model a treatment device that is not a specific node within the program, if the user has sufficient data to model it effectively; for example, flow diversions, flow dilutions or contamination by sewer overflow. In these cases, MUSIC allows the user to define ‘transfer functions’ for flows and water quality.

Photos courtesy of BMT-WBM

Development of MUSIC - previous versions

MUSIC – model for urban stormwater improvement conceptualisation – was first developed in 2001.

Research by Dr Tony Wong and colleagues at Monash University and eWater’s forerunner organisation, the CRC for Catchment Hydrology identified that urban water professionals needed a decision support system to evaluate treatment measures and strategies if urban stormwater quality was to be improved.

Fundamental to this was research that showed that treatment of nearly all urban stormwater systems could be simulated using one model, the ‘universal stormwater treatment model’. This breakthrough, combined with a detailed understanding of the hydrology and pollutants of urban areas, gave Dr Wong’s team the necessary building blocks that became MUSIC.

The MUSIC development team focused on having a tool that, though easy to use, was underlain by high quality science. Dr Wong recognised that the science of estimating water quality had tended to become event-based and deterministic, whereas the quality of urban stormwater really depends on the statistical outcome of many rainfall events interacting with a handful of physical and chemical processes. If this ‘actuarial approach’ could be captured with an appropriate algorithm, calculations would be much simplified.

The hydrology inside MUSIC, developed by Francis Chiew and colleagues in the CRC for Catchment Hydrology, is based on defining an impervious area and the properties of related pervious areas. Once this is done, the runoff from an area can be estimated. More and more, confident estimates of hydrology are becoming as important as estimating water quality. In fact, changes in urban hydrology can have major impacts on the health of creeks and streams, as work by Associate Professor Tim Fletcher (a member of the MUSIC development team) and colleagues at Monash University has shown.

Taking MUSIC from strength to strength

MUSIC is supported by eWater and is strongly grounded in proven Australian science and user experience to reduce the uncertainty surrounding stormwater management strategies.

  • Version 2 extended the features and provided export options
  • Version 3 introduced life-cycle costing, rainwater tanks and infiltration basins
  • Version 4 provided more powerful modelling of bioretention and inflitation systems, as well as simpler calibration tools and improved support.
  • MUSIC version 5 offered significant new capabilities, including the ability to: model additional pollutants; assess development submissions; understand peak flow impacts, the effects of storage and detention treatments and the water balance; simulate rainwater and stormwater harvesting options and import and export to other models. With MUSIC version 5 also featured an enhanced user interface and improved capacity to report and chart results.

Since MUSIC was first developed in 2001, the software has been used by thousands of professionals working in private practice and in state, regional and local government agencies throughout Australia.

With rigorous testing by hundreds of users, the feedback we have received about MUSIC has been used to expand its capabilties and make it more robust and reliable.

Find out more about the team behind MUSIC.

MUSIC team

Licensing & Pricing

There are three licence types available for purchase.  Please see the pricing and descriptions below.

For a custom quote, contact us at or 1300-5-WATER.

The software can also be purchased online at

Standard Licence Type Price
(incl GST)
MUSIC 21-day trial
For a single user accessing the software on a single computer, for 21 days from first activation.
$0 | Download
MUSIC Single Computer licence
For a single user accessing the software on a single computer.  The software and licence key is downloadable from our website.
  • 1 PC software licence for MUSIC (locked to 1 computer)
  • 12 months support and maintenance (includes software updates)
$2,992.00 | Purchase
MUSIC Single User USB Dongle

For a single user at a time, the software can be installed on multiple computers.  Software requires the USB key to activate the software.


  • 1 single user USB dongle licence for MUSIC (licence can be shared between multiple computers)
  • 12 months support and maintenance (includes software updates)
$3,652.00 | Purchase
MUSIC Network licensing (multiple users)
For organisations who wish to share a licence/s via their network.  Users must be connected to the network to access a licence.
  • 1 Network USB dongle key with capacity for 1 or more concurrent user licences available
  • 12 months support and maintenance (includes updates)
From $4,598.00 for one concurrent user
(please contact us for additional user licences)
Ongoing annual support and maintenance renewal per licence cost (applicable from second year onwards)


Multi-licence and software / training bundles Price
(incl GST)
MUSIC software and training bundles (applies 20% discount on software cost) – view training
Contact us for more information
Discounts are available for multiple licence orders
Contact us for more information


  • Prices subject to change
  • Prices are for Australian market only. Please contact us for international pricing.
  • Support & Maintenance is included for all first year purchases of MUSIC. To be eligible for updates, Support & Maintenance must be current and cover the life of the licence. Updates must be installed while Support & Maintenance is active. Failure to install updates during this period may result in full licence fees being payable to acquire updates.
  • For USB dongle purchases (single user and network) please allow 3-5 business days for delivery from date of payment.

System requirements

End-user licence agreement

Case studies

Since MUSIC was first developed in 2001, the software has been used by thousands of urban stormwater professionals working in private practice and in state, regional and local government agencies throughout Australia.

MUSIC guidelines have been, or are being, written for a range of locations across Australia, including Melbourne, Sydney’s drinking water catchments, South East Queensland, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Mackay, Perth and Darwin. Environmental and engineering consultants around Australia use MUSIC every day to design urban development proposals that meet Water Sensitive Urban Design standards. MUSIC is even being used to look at the effects of wetlands in agricultural catchments near the Great Barrier Reef.

"MUSIC is E2Designlab's most essential software tool. We use it in planning and design for all our projects ranging from streetscape rain gardens and stormwater reuse for parks through to regional integrated water management strategies for water authorities. Using MUSIC as a key analysis tool, we are moving beyond best practice water quality treatment to considering benefits of WSUD for evapotranspiration, minor flooding and heavy metals treatment as well as systemic efficiencies in the overall water cycle that can be realised through better design." 

– Dr Dale Browne, Senior Engineer, E2Designlab

MUSIC case studies

Videos on MUSIC


Paid Support and Maintenance

Our paid Support and Maintenance package provides a number of benefits including:

  • Telephone support through the 1300-5-WATER line (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm AEST), and email support – for installation, licence and bug reporting only. 
  • Community site and email eGroup forums
  • Online frequently asked questions and answers
  • Access to updates and upgrades – allowing you to have access to the most up-to-date version (to be eligible for updates, support and maintenance must be current and cover the life of the licence. Upgrades must be installed while support is active).
  • Access to over 1600 additional Australia Government Bureau of Meteorology pluviograph rainfall data sets


System requirements



Get MUSIC       Download free trial


Special Offers

  • Purchase eWater software when booking training to receive a 20% discount on the cost of the software.

Training currently includes:

  • Stormwater modelling using MUSIC (two days, introduction and intermediate MUSIC )
  • Customised training Stormwater modelling using MUSIC 
  • Development Assessment of WSUD using MUSIC 

Visit our MUSIC training page to find out more.

Training info and pricing