We analyse the implementation of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) as a solution to better manage storm water runoffs and reduce urban flooding, and at the same time provide significant Ecosystem Services (ES). ES vary from temperature control at urban and building scale to main water savings, depending on the type of SuDS considered. The general objective is to incorporate the monetary value of SuDS' ecosystem services into the decision making process on storm water management (SWM) of an urban catchment affected by regular floods, and to optimize the design of the drainage solution, in order to justify the feasibility of larger investment on this type of systems. The case study is an urban catchment of 220 ha in the city of Montevideo, Uruguay, where approximately 600 houses are affected by pluvial floods. Rain barrels and green roofs are the two types of SuDS considered in the study. An optimization algorithm together with the hydraulic model of the drainage system is used to determine the optimum size and distribution of the drainage elements (SuDS and storages). The results show that the inclusion of ES benefits justifies significantly larger investments on SuDS. When detention storages are considered in combination with SuDS, the largest flood reductions are achieved as well as the largest total benefits.
Republished in part with permission from Pathirana, A., Urrestarazu, S., Hayde, L., De Fraiture, C. and Salinas-Rodriguez, C. (2013). Value of SuDS beyond urban flood management: The ecosystem services value of green/blue solutions. In: Water Sensitive Urban Design 2013: WSUD 2013. Barton, ACT: Engineers Australia, pp. 192-202.
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