Urban Water Management

To prevent annoyances in the urban area the adaptability of the urban sewage and drainage system is a very important factor in a changing climate. In the UKCIP-program specific research is conducted on the changes in intensities of rainfall and the appearance and uncertainty of heavy showers. The urban water system is the Achilles' heel in case of floods, because the water system does no longer function in a natural way. The intrinsic capacity of storage is no longer available in case of heavy rainfall. Nowadays, the system is fully artificial and lacks the flexibility to store heavy precipitation.

Fig. 1.26 The level of discomfort in the inner city of Manchester - current situation, 2020, 2050 and 2080 (high emission scenario) (Source: Walsh et al., 2007)

Because the water system is outdated in many cities, climate change might have serious consequences. It is very important to develop an urban water system with large margins of 10-40%, because rainfall intensities of the future become increasingly uncertain. Such a flexible system is capable of minimising the effect of flooding and water annoyance in the city. This implies high costs. The necessary adjustments need to be carried out parallel with measures, which needed to be realised anyway because of the outdated system. The measures should be taken in phases and smart and space gaining measures should be found. The system needs to take into account the increase of intense summer showers. Adjustments on buildings and introduction of local drainage may increase the capacity of the entire urban water system.

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