Water Resilient Cities: Increasing urban resilience to climate change through improved storm water management | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën


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Water Resilient Cities: Increasing urban resilience to climate change through improved storm water management

Priority Axis

Adaptation to Climate Change

Specific objective

Adaptation to Climate Change

Lead partner

Plymouth City Council


Start Date


End Date


Project budget

7 755 130

ERDF amount

4 653 078

ERDF rate



    Common challenge

    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 Outdated drainage in such areas often cannot cope with heavier rainfall caused by climate change.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.

    Main Achievements

    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.



    City of Mechelen

    VIVES University College North

    City of Bruges

    De Vlaamse Waterweg nv

    Boulogne-sur-Mer Development Agency

    Boulogne Water Board

    Municipality of Middelburg

    Green Blue Urban Ltd

    Vives University College South

    South West Water Ltd (SWW)

    Wimereux Town Council

    Condette Town Council


    Output name
    URL / Download


    Theme: Innovation in citiesClimate change
    Type: Pilot and demonstration action
    Target: Citizens


    Theme: Innovation in citiesClimate change
    Type: Method/service
    Target: Environmental agencies


    Theme: Innovation in citiesClimate change
    Type: Network
    Target: Local, regional and national authorities


    Theme: Innovation in citiesClimate change
    Type: Strategy/action plan
    Target: Environmental agencies