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Prevent flooding with good stormwater management

Published: 23 September 2021

The Stormwater Day is celebrated on September 24 every year to draw attention to the fact that rain and melted snow that flows on our streets is a valuable resource. If not handled properly, stormwater can cause costly flooding. With this summer's major floods in Gävle, Dalarna and Central Europe in fresh memory - how should stormwater be managed to prevent future floods?

– Everything indicates that the number of cloud-bursts will increase in the future, and therefore we must design our cities to give stormwater space. Without increased resources for stormwater management, we will see more very costly events like those this summer. Stormwater management must be allowed to cost and it must be given space - otherwise it will take up unintended space, which costs more, says Maria Viklander professor of Urban Water Engineering, at Luleå University of Technology and director of the national competence centers Stormwater & Sewers and "DRIZZLE - center for stormwater management".

Blue-green stormwater solutions

Traditionally, pipe networks have been built to handle stormwater. It is becoming increasingly common to install so-called blue-green infrastructure, such as stormwater ponds, green roofs, and grass surfaces as a complement to climate adaptation in cities. However, blue-green stormwater solutions often require large areas above ground, which is a challenge in our increasingly dense cities.

Stormwater is an important resource

– We must plan our cities so that stormwater solutions are given the space needed. Properly designed, for example, a stormwater pond can become a resource by contributing to ecological diversity, recreation and increasing the attractiveness of a district, while at the same time being able to handle stormwater volumes. Stormwater management must become a more integrated part of the building of the entire community, Maria Viklander, says.

However, not all stormwater is a resource. When stormwater flows over the surfaces in our cities, it accumulates pollution, which can have a detrimental effect on the environment in both the short and long term.

–To be able to use the benefits of stormwater, we need more knowledge about different types of stormwater and which stormwater can be used as a resource, which ones need to be treated, and develop better treatment techniques. All stormwater cannot be a resource - we have to handle stormwater of different nature in different ways, Maria Viklander, says.

Maria Viklander

Maria Viklander, Professor and Head of Subject

Phone: +46 (0)920 491634
Organisation: Urban Water Engineering, Architecture and Water, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering
Lena Goldkuhl

Lena Goldkuhl, Project Coordinator

Phone: +46 (0)920 492893
Organisation: Urban Water Engineering, Architecture and Water, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering