Urban Drainage (JOINT IWA/IAHR)


The UDSG fosters and conducts fundamental and applied research on urban drainage, and promotes innovative approaches to urban drainage worldwide. During the past decades, research of urban drainage has moved from studying the traditional protection of urban population and infrastructure against adverse impacts of rain and snow towards a more holistic approach, which strives to provide even a better level of protection, in different climates, by seizing opportunities for designing and operating urban drainage as a system of sustainable green, blue and grey infrastructure elements optimizing the beneficial uses of urban rainwater and stormwater. Green urban infrastructure in reducing the impacts of climate variability and change on urban drainage may become transformational in urban drainage. A list of core issues includes urban rainfall in current and future climates; quantity and quality of urban stormwater and combined sewer overflows; advanced management of stormwater in urban areas, with emphasis on source controls, rainwater harvesting, low impact development and water sensitive urban design; operation and control of urban drainage, including sewer systems and receiving waters, in real time; modelling of whole systems or their elements;  and, applicability of these approaches in regions with various climates, governance, and various levels of the economic development.

As the global population is shifting from rural to urban areas, and the urban population is quickly growing, the importance of urban water is rising and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.  This urban population creates high demands on water services, among which urban drainage plays an important role, within the concept of the urban water cycle.  The provision and sustainability of such services, in the current and future climates, represent a great challenge to urban planners, water managers, decision makers, and NGOs worldwide.

The Urban Drainage SG (UDSG) contributes to broader IWA efforts within the general heading “Urban water Management”.  Typical activities of the UDSG are planned cyclically around the group’s important conferences, which typically feature presentations of the group deliverables. Three such conferences are planned for 2016 and 2017. In the meantime, the group plans to advance the following priorities in 2015: expansion and rejuvenation of the SG management group; initiating the planning process for the group’s triennial conference in 2020; hosting or co-hosting three events during 2015: a junior scientist workshop on environmental sensor technology (France, May), advances in modelling of urban drainage (Canada, Sep.), and urban rainfall workshop (Switzerland, Dec.); and compiling a new edition of the Scientific and Technical Report on sewer solids,  etc.