Thames Water will partner with stakeholders and local authorities to fund £60 million of surface water management (SWM) schemes including green spaces, removing hard, impermeable surfaces such as concrete and asphalt in areas most at risk of flooding.
The project will create more sustainable solutions across 65 hectares of land in total to reduce the amount of rain and flood water entering the company’s vast sewer network, and counter flooding in urban areas.
Reducing the volume of water entering the sewers also provides greater capacity in the network to support future population increases in London and the Thames Valley, which is growing at twice the average of the rest of the country.
The initiative is a feature of Thames Water’s recently published £11.7bn business plan for 2020-25, with £1.1 billion assigned to activities that will protect and enhance the environment.
During periods of heavy rainfall, some sewers can reach capacity due to the amount of water suddenly entering them. The expected initiatives will mimic natural water systems and create sustainable drainage so rainfall is absorbed by the ground or channelled into green storage such as ponds where it can slowly soak away.
In addition to alleviating flood risk, green spaces deliver improvements in biodiversity and provide amenities for the community – with associated positive impacts on mental and physical health. The public spaces are expected to range from rainwater gardens, wetlands, green roofs and living walls.
Alongside community initiatives, Thames Water also plans to implement sustainable drainage measures for households, developing an innovative planter which collects rainfall from the drain pipe before slowly releasing it back into the sewers. The planter, which helps free up capacity in the network during high rainfall, is designed to be used in residential gardens, with excess water also captured for future uses such as watering the garden.
Thames Water’s newly launched SWM programme will fund work with stakeholders and local authorities with priority given to major schemes in areas most at risk of flooding. However, local authorities across the Thames Water network will have the opportunity to partner with the company. Click here to read more.