The management of urban surface water flood risks: SUDS performance in flood reduction from extreme events

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The need to improve the urban drainage network to meet recent urban growth and the redevelopment of old industrial and commercial areas provides an opportunity for managing urban surface water infrastructure in a more sustainable way. The use of sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) can reduce urban surface water flooding as well as the pollution impact of urban discharges on receiving waters. However, these techniques are not yet well known by many stakeholders involved in the decision-making process, or at least the evidence of their performance effectiveness may be doubted compared with more traditional engineering solutions often promoted by existing 1D/2D drainage models. The use of geographic information systems (GIS) in facilitating the inter-related risk analysis of sewer surface water overflows and urban flooding as well as in better communication with stakeholders is demonstrated in this paper. An innovative coupled 1D/2D urban sewer/overland flow model has been developed and tested in conjunction with a SUDS selection and location tool (SUDSLOC) to enable a robust management approach to surface water flood risks and to improve the resilience of the urban drainage infrastructure. The paper demonstrates the numerical and modelling basis of the integrated 1D/2D and SUDSLOC approach and the working assumptions and flexibility of the application together with some limitations and uncertainties. The role of the SUDSLOC modelling component in quantifying flow, and surcharge reduction benefits arising from the strategic selection and location of differing SUDS controls are also demonstrated for an extreme storm event scenario.

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