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Stormwater floods could be reduced if research is put into action, scientists say

18 November 2013

Stormwater flooding could be dramatically reduced if the latest research is put into action, scientists from Abertay University will tell policy makers and stakeholders at the Scottish Parliament today (Monday, November 18).

In a joint SUDSnet, CREW, and SUDSWP meeting, Alison Duffy and Dr Rebecca Wade – from Abertay's Urban Water Technology Centre – will use the findings of two recent Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) projects to highlight techniques which could mitigate the effects of intensive rainstorms in urban areas: CRW2012/27 and CRW2012/1.

In recent months, towns such as Greenock have experienced major disruption due to stormwater flooding, and in October last year many towns and villages in Fife and Angus experienced severe disruption due to heavy rain.

With extreme weather becoming more common, there has been a concerted effort over the past few years to find ways of managing excess water in the urban environment.

SUDS aims to deal with stormwater in three ways: to slow down the flow of water; to improve the quality of water by reducing the pollutants it contains; and to provide amenity - for recreation, biodiversity or other benefits to the local environment and communities.

It is hoped that speaking directly to officials at the Scottish Parliament will lead to a greater understanding of the options that politicians and local authorities can rely on to help address these issues and take the pressure off our urban drainage systems.

The researchers and invited speakers at today’s event will give an overview of approaches - some of which are new, innovative techniques, others long-established measures.

Dr Rebecca Wade explains:

"In recent years it has been recognised that Scotland and the UK are experiencing changing weather patterns, with intensive rainstorms becoming much more common. These have a big impact on people's lives, with families and businesses having to take elaborate measures to try and keep stormwater runoff from their doors.

"So we've been looking at ways to try and alleviate the pressure that rainwater puts on our drainage systems, by investigating sustainable drainage systems which can reduce runoff and improve water quality.

"One of the most effective ways to reduce runoff is to manage water where it lands - at its source. We can do this by creating green roofs and building rainwater collectors, for example, as well as by designing mechanisms that slow down the flow of rainwater from our roads and driveways. These examples might seem small-scale, but they can have a huge impact.

"Scotland is well known for innovative stormwater management, and we want to maintain our position as leaders in this field. We hope that speaking face-to-face with the stakeholders and people who make decisions about Scotland's future will lead to better understanding of the many benefits than can arise from making sustainable land use decisions, and will ensure Scotland continues to lead in the application of these techniques."

The research being presented today is directly in line with the Scottish Government agenda on flooding.

The Flood Risk (Scotland) Act 2009 states:

"Climate change predictions suggest that the number and severity of storm events across Scotland is likely to increase. To deal with these risks, we must continue to improve our understanding of the causes and consequences of flooding and deploy more sustainable approaches to tackling flood risk."

The Government guidance states one of its five overarching outcome goals as:

"Integrated drainage that decreases burdens on our sewer systems while also delivering reduced flood risk and an improved water environment."

The event will run from 10am to 4pm at the Scottish Parliament on Monday, November 18.

As well as presentations from Abertay University academics, there will also be guest speakers from London, Berlin and Melbourne who will be sharing best practice.


For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 M: 07927172158 E:

Notes to Editors:

SUDSnet - Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems - is a network jointly run by Abertay and Coventry Universities. It was established in 2004 with EPSRC funding and has been self-sustaining since the funding finished in 2007. The network has approximately 700 members worldwide.

CREW - Scotland’s Centre of Expertise for Waters - connects research and policy to deliver objective and robust research and expert opinion to support the development and implementation of water policy in Scotland. It is a developing partnership between the James Hutton Institute and all Scottish Higher Education Institutes. It is supported by MASTS - the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland - and is funded by the Scottish Government.

SUDSWP - the SUDS Working Party - is a group of stakeholders who meet regularly to discuss key issues relating to Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS). The group comprises representatives from: Homes for Scotland, Landscape Institute Scotland, Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Government, Heads of Planning Scotland (HOPS), Scottish Water, Society of Chief Officers for Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS), SEPA.

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