SWITCH: Managing Water for the City of the Future

Managing Water for the City of the Future

Water Sensitive Urban Design

Łódż, Poland

The demo focused on restoration of the Sokolowka river using the principles of eco-hydrology to manage stormwater, increase water retentiveness and improve water quality and overall improve the quality of life for residents who live close to the river or use it for recreational purposes.

The demonstration included installation of on-line hydrological and meteorological monitoring systems, construction of sedimentation basins and specially designed reservoirs and planting of vegetation. Larger scale analysis of the basin was undertaken to allow upscaling of the demo. Wide engagement and dissemination was undertaken through production of three documentary films, publication of a series of maps and guides for Łódż's rivers and establishment of an educational path at the demo site.

Success of the demo resulted further uptake by developers and in the formulation and adoption of spatial planning for the city around the concept of a 'blue-green' network.

Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Belo Horizonte, a city of 2.4 million inhabitants located in a tropical climate environment, has major issues with flooding, wet weather diffuse pollution and wastewater contamination of receiving bodies. Because of this sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) became the focus of SWITCH demonstrations in Belo Horizonte.

Three demo sites were equipped with infiltration or detention devices. Two of them focussed on the performance assessment of SUDS in terms of runoff control and wet weather pollution abatement. Also, alternatives for retrofitting these kinds of devices in the urbanised environment of a developing country city were explored.

The SWITCH demonstration that has been monitored for the longest period in Belo Horizonte receives runoff flow from a 3,880m2 contributing area including a stretch of a 4-lane avenue. The runoff generated in this road is drained through gutters to an inlet where it is collected and conveyed to the experimental area. The experiment monitoring protocol includes rainfall, inflows to the devices, storage and water quality monitoring by means of inflow and outflow samples, including the following parameters: conductivity, temperature, turbidity, total suspended soils, metals (Cu, Ni, Zn, Cd, Mn, Cr, Pb). The devices proved to be very effective for their purposes during the period of operation under SWITCH. For instance, the wet weather pollution abatement in the detention device could reach Class 2 water quality limits for stormwater overflow according to Brazilian standards.

Emscher Region, Germany

The river Emscher is located in Western Germany in one of Europe's most densely populated and industrialized areas. Due to the impact of mining activities from the beginning of the 19th century onwards and the related subsidence of extensive areas the Emscher system was developed as an open sewer system in which freshwater as well as wastewater flows. With the ceasing of the mining activities in the 1980's an opportunity for a restoration of the Emscher catchment emerged.

Due to the high level of urbanization the flow regime of the Emscher is strongly influenced by stormwater runoff. In addition, overflows of the dominant combined sewer system cause water quality problems and hydraulic stress. Aware of these problems, the Emschergenossenschaft introduced new source oriented stormwater management strategies at an early stage. Since the 1990's many pilot projects for BMPs have been realized.

In coordination with the Emschergenossenschaft four different ongoing projects were selected as demonstration examples for SWITCH (Sieker et. al. 2006):

Key findings of the research were that:

Key documents:

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