Stormwater has emerged as a viable alternative water resource to mains water or water sourced from water reservoirs. In the past few years, stormwater runoff has been increasingly harvested on small scales using mainly non-sustainable, energy-intense technologies. However, technological solutions that could deliver large volumes of harvested stormwater with low-energy and low-carbon footprints still need further research and development.

The aim of this project is to develop both new and refine existing stormwater harvesting technologies, building upon the proven concepts of water sensitive urban design (WSUD). Solutions are to be flexible, ranging from lot to regional scales.

Key outcomes

The project was designed to fill knowledge gaps around the removal of pathogens and toxic chemicals by WSUD systems, focusing on stormwater biofilters. The work has led to the development of novel biofiltration media that can passively remove pathogens from stormwater. A range of effective plant species has also been identified, leading to the development of a new generation of biofilters for stormwater harvesting.

This project included one of the world’s first studies on removal efficiency of micropollutants (herbicides, oil and petrol derivatives, disinfectants etc.) by stormwater biofilters. The project has also delivered some preliminary insights into pathogen removal by constructed wetlands. The project delivered the “Adoption Guidelines for Stormwater Biofiltration Systems”, which are an updated version of the Facility for Advancing Water Biofiltration (FAWB) biofiltration guidelines published in 2009.

The project delivered UrbanBEATS (Urban Biophysical Environments and Technologies Simulator), a modelling tool to assist in the strategic planning of stormwater treatment technologies. This tool was also incorporated into the Water Sensitive Cities Modelling Toolkit developed under "Integration and demonstration through urban design" (Project D1.1). UrbanBEATS integrates urban planning and urban form with stormwater management infrastructure planning, design and placement. It can be used to engage a multi-disciplinary group of stakeholders in identifying suitable water management opportunities.

Last updated: 13th Jun 2016