Should All New Housing Developments Include Sustainable Drainage?

Should All New Housing Developments Include Sustainable Drainage?

Most drainage systems in the UK, which were built many decades ago, did not anticipate the rapid increase in population. Our major cities and town often have crude and aging drainage networks that are no longer functioning at their optimum levels and are causing problems. The worst of these problems is surface flooding. The UK has already recorded a significant number of deaths and injuries, and hundreds of millions worth of property damage due to catastrophic surface flooding events since 2007. Drainage contractors have observed that the main cause of surface flooding is blocked drainage systems, and keeping these clear is a full time job.

Why Does Flooding Happen?

Flooding occurs when the rate of rainwater entering the city’s streets is greater than the discharge capacity of the drainage network. When new homes are built, their drainage is connected to the existing network, and often these drainage lines are already literally at bursting point. There is nothing wrong with this methodology in principle, especially if the capacity and current health status of the sewer network has been factored in their planning stages. But, often developers have failed to see that the existing watercourses at the receiving end of the drainage lines are already being overstretched during wet weather. When excessive surface water is being channeled directly from the drainage lines to the watercourses, this constant collection without treatment can cause pollution. To solve this problem, experts studied the idea of sustainable drainage.

What is sustainable drainage?

A sustainable drainage is designed to effectively channel water from the surface to a nearby water course by mimicking how natural systems drain away surface water. To some extent it also cleans it before releasing the water back to the environment. It aims to minimize the overcapacity of drainage and allow the treatment of surface water before it is thrown to the watercourses. The objective, therefore, is not just flood control, but also solving the problem of polluted water being thrown back to the watercourses. Newer technologies have emerged and new material breakthroughs have been introduced to aid drainage contractors in London and all around the UK to make sustainable drainage possible. The best drainage contractors in the UK are currently exploring the ways to install the sustainable drainage system in the most efficient way.

Should new developments include sustainable drainage?

To answer the lingering question of whether new developments should include sustainable drainage, yes, they should. In the last few years, the UK has already suffered enough due to the consequences of surface water flooding, and studies show that if no action would be taken, incidents of surface flooding could increase. As proof of that, a study by JBA Consulting found out that at least 2 million people are already at risk in the present time, and this number could increase over the years. The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment also announced that flooding could be one of the top three problems that will be caused by climate change next year, and in London, most of the floods were and will still be caused by surface water overload. These findings by researchers should be enough warning to alert government officials and drainage contractors to work for the inclusion of sustainable drainage in new developments. We should not wait for the next catastrophic event to strike before we implement measures that could prevent more disasters to come.