Water Resilient Cities: Increasing urban resilience to climate change through improved storm water management
Priority AxisAdaptation to Climate Change
Adaptation to Climate Change
Lead partnerPlymouth City Council
Project budget7 755 130 €
ERDF amount4 653 078 €
The 2 Seas region has many urban areas characterised by dense development. Outdated drainage in such areas often cannot cope with heavier rainfall caused by climate change. The problem is due largely to existing development, and risks are increasing due to climate change. There is little experience in retrofitting sustainable urban drainage (SUDS) to existing urban areas: sites typically have too little space to manage surface water within their boundary. The solution lies off-site in the public realm, but this requires new types of cooperation between municipalities and owners not seen before.
The project aims at improving the adaptive capacity of cities to heavy rainfall by demonstrating how SUDS can be retrofitted in public areas normally constrained by existing uses and infrastructure (above or below ground), or ‘historic environment’ protection. The project will demonstrate reduced flooding while protecting or improving amenities, biodiversity, health and wellbeing, local economies and saving public money. The adoption of these approaches will increase adaptation capacity to effects of heavy rainfall and deliver added societal benefits.
The projects main outputs will be:
1. demonstrations that develop, test and implement transferable design principles for tailor made SUDS solutions and nature
2. a guide to retrofitting strategic SUDS in constrained public spaces and how to deliver added societal benefits;
3. A collaborative network and Public/SME procurement partnerships to stimulate innovation for SUDS.
Public authorities and professionals responsible for drainage, citizens and businesses protected from flooding are the main beneficiaries. SMEs will benefit from better collaboration and information.
Cross border approach
All urban areas in 2 Seas area face increasing risks of storm water flooding. Knowledge and experience of SUDS varies widely. These solutions require more than engineering expertise, also facing many institutional barriers that vary between regions and hence a transferable and replicable solution requires cross border cooperation. The partnership brings together organisations with complementary skills and experiences. Working together to deliver solutions at 5 diverse demonstration sites, partners have the joint capacity to develop and test innovative approaches & create guidance for others.
The Water Resilient Cities (WRC) partnership has piloted sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) in five cities: Bruges, Mechelen, Middelburg, Plymouth and Wimereux. By working together the partners have been able to overcome institutional barriers and find technical solutions to test innovative approaches leading to reduced flooding while protecting and improving amenities, biodiversity, health and wellbeing. The project has also trialled the use of tree pits in locations within the five cities.
- The Millbay Boulevard in Plymouth links the city centre with the waterfront via an attractive route that integrates sustainable urban drainage to protect 1.7 square kilometres of urban land from flooding.
- King Albert I Park in Bruges has been retrofitted to resolve problems of storm water storage and water quality in a very sensitive historic area, creating an additional buffer of 400 m3 water and improving the water quality.
- In Wimereux, Foch Square has been refurbished using a draining concrete product based on shellfish waste. An innovative underground basin has been built creating over 1,000 m3 of new buffering capacity.
- In the Dauwendaele district of Middelburg, the De Overloper sustainable drainage system is being implemented next to a shopping centre. And for the redesign of the Molenwater park, residents were given a real say in the final design of a 2,200 m3 rainwater storage system, offering flood protection to 270 surrounding houses.
- And the historic course of the River Dijle in Mechelen has been opened up. The former car park is now a new waterside space and improvements to the Melaan brook have increased storm water storage capacity by 27,000,m3, with 130 ha being better protected from flooding in the city.
To help disseminate the findings from the project a SuDS Guide has been produced providing case studies and recommendations on SuDS in confined urban environments. And a SuDS Award was launched to promote best practise, with the Award winners invited to the project’s final dissemination event in Peterborough. The event attracted over 70 delegates focusing upon “Retrofitting SUDS: From Design to Delivery”. The event, along with a SuDS training workshop on the WRC Quick Scan Tool for SuDS attracted businesses, planners, designers and policy makers. This was the culmination of a successful series of other WRC network events held in Bruges, Condette, Mechelen and Middelburg which attracted an average of around 100 deletes each.