Stormwater and flood management – A challenge in times of climate change

Many climatological studies show that climate change is the cause for an increased number of extreme weather events, impairing stormwater flows and causing floods.

In Europe consequences have already become visible in the past decades, as severe events have appeared more frequently and more people have been affected

It is predicted that, even in the winter season in the north or in previously dry seasons in the south, more intensive rains and downpours will occur more often which increases the risk of flooding. In recent years Sweden was afflicted by storms and downpours at increased numbers during winter months resulting in urban flooding causing damages. Throughout Europe unusual weather patterns are observed and expected to exacerbate. A further prominent exampel is Venice which was hit by heavy and deadly flooding in November 2019.

Together with weather-related impacts another factor causing urban flooding and environmental pollution is urban growth which in connection makes urban stormwater management even more challenging.

The existing, conventional stormwater systems are normally not designed to tackle runoff volumes and increased pollution loads generated by extreme weather caused by the changed climate.

Subjecting our environments to additional pressure, increased stormwater volumes and pollution loads also impose further requirements to the water and wastewater legal system – for instance to determine responsibilities between various stakeholders of stormwater management. To manage stormwater in the right way has become an important component in the development of our future sustainable cities, to prevent urban flooding and environmental pollution.

AFRYs specialists within stormwater and climate change adaptation have together a large experience to meet current and future needs of our clients and to help them building a robust stormwater and flood management. Our experts offer leading edge techniques and creative ideas within the field, both nationally and internationally.