Chris Jefferies, Urban Drainage System Expert, in this lecture addresses the need to reduce the impact of city development of flooding on residents and in other places, and the worsening of the water quality in streams, rivers and lakes caused by the expansion of cities.
This lecture addresses the need to reduce the impact of city development of flooding on residents and in other places, and the worsening of the water quality in streams, rivers and lakes caused by the expansion of cities. Jefferies believes the most appropriate current solutions involve Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) but SUDS can only be implemented with good policies, supportive stakeholder groups and partnership working so that these new ideas, which cut across existing methods and practices, can be accepted.
Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems require several changes in thinking and practice in city planning and there are many barriers to progress including the perceived costs added to development, the increased maintenance activities required, the attractiveness of big infrastructure projects to politicians whereas drainage projects are very often just ‘normal work’. The inertia of planning systems also tends to discourage the good new ideas involved. However, the perceived additional costs need to be set against the costs of losing habitats and the fish, food and other ecosystem services which follow, and the damage to properties and danger to people caused by flooding which frequently results from development. The barriers to more sustainable drainage are high but a whole portfolio of potential ‘Green’ infrastructure solutions are available to be applied in any city in the world. There are no particular problems for high cost, high value developments since the additional costs of drainage are small and green space is normally an integral element.
However, for most urban developments where money is tight, drainage solutions on a development site are likely to be hard concrete with no financial allocation for maintenance. Consequently, to achieve more widespread use of sustainable drainage principles, greater integration into Green Infrastructure is necessary, and multiple benefits need to be clear. Otherwise the whole life costs will not be properly recognised. Major developments and redevelopments give the opportunity for the reallocation of open space to improve its use through multiple functions. Sustainable drainage has the potential to provide habitat improvements which provide places for breeding, give connectivity between SUDS and with natural areas, and, link directly to zones of natural habitats thus providing more sustainable solutions and greener solutions to drainage problems.
Chris Jefferies is a world leader in the design and planning of sustainable urban drainage systems(SUDS). With collaborators, he has co-authored much of the SUDS guidance used in the United Kingdom including the seminal design manual from CIRIA, ‘The SUDS Design Manual’.He has undertaken research in association with construction companies, materials suppliers and with governmental/ regulator organisations. He has worked very closely with local authorities and Water Companies in Scotland and various European countries on the implementation of the technical standards which apply to SUDS. He was a partner in the EU FP6 research programme SWITCH and delivered the SWITCH Transition Manual. Chris has now retired and is working on a part time basis. He retains his academic interests through one European project - the E2STORMED - which is concerned with the energy issues associated with SUDS in six countries around the Mediterranean.