Flooded streets, normal or manageable

One of the challenges for urban planners is urban water management. For example, buildings and paved roads prevent natural infiltration and direct the water flow to channels and sewers. Moreover, the weather patterns are also changing. We are increasingly faced with longer periods of drought and short periods of intense rainfall.

Water drainage and sewage system

Because the rainwater isn’t able to infiltrate naturally, most water in urban areas is transferred directly to the sewer system. Transferring large amounts of water directly and unbuffered into the sewer system can cause a variety of problems.

Water treatment plants are designed to a certain capacity. When this capacity is reached the influent is often discharged directly into surface water.

In this case measurements of the discharge and pollution load of the water is required to get an insight into the environmental impact caused by this untreated discharge. This enables policymakers to address the problem with validated data. Did this discharge cause an environmental problem or not? And answer the question – do we need to redesign our infrastructure and to what capacity?

To perform quantitative and qualitative sewage research, Royal Eijkelkamp offers innovative solutions to measure flow and water quality.

Local water buffering and infiltration

Planning water buffer facilities at district level will help urban water management. With a good urban water management plan we can slow down the rainwater drainage by containing rainwater for as long as possible.

Rainwater buffering can be achieved by reducing the paved surface, (rainwater) ponds, underground basins and decentralised infiltration. The type of infiltration depends, among other factors, mostly on the permeability of the soil and the groundwater level.

For infiltration we first need to disconnect the rainwater drainage from the sewer system. This relieves the sewer system and the wastewater treatment plants from processing large amounts of rainwater.

There are a few very important factors to take into consideration. We now need sufficient storage space for all the water. This storage space temporarily stores the water, after which it can be used or slowly infiltrates. 
For instance public green like parks and public gardens. The presence of unsealed soil increases the possibility for water infiltration. For water storage you can construct wadis, use infiltration crates or other water storage solutions that prevent public water systems being overburdened by extreme rainfall.

Royal Eijkelkamp is happy to help you with infiltration measurements, setting up a monitoring network, gathering and validating the data that helps you with your urban water management plan.

Sponge city

Sponge city was first mentioned in 2013 and refers to cities that are like sponges: with an infrastructure that collects excess rainfall and integrates flood control in urban planning. A sponge city will not only be able to deal with excessive rainfall, but also reuse rainwater in order to deal with water shortages during the dry periods.

Developed in China, a country with severe water problems, in terms of water scarcity, flooding and water quality. Due to the rapid process of industrialization and urbanization and high frequencies of global extreme weather, the urban water problems have become very prominent in the last decade. This is reflected in the following 4 aspects:

  • Clotting of urban flooded rainfall and low utilization of rainwater resources;
  • Over-exploitation of groundwater. There is a severe shortage of urban water resources;
  • Serious pollution of urban water bodies;
  • Shrinking of river and lakes and wetlands.

Read how Royal Eijkelkamp contributed by means of a 24/7 measurement network in the wetland park of Deyang and China.

Contact us and share your challenges. Discover how Royal Eijkelkamp can make the difference.


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