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Modifications In London Drainage Systems To Make Them Sustainable

With the rapidly increasing urbanization, the problems like flash flooding after a big rain shower have increased. This is because the trees and vegetation of the region is being replaced by concrete structures, roads and buildings. These make the land impervious to water and the water falling on the ground is directed towards man-made drainage systems instead of seeping below the ground. In such an event, the drainage systems are overfilled and this leads to flooding.

Consequently, many drainage systems like London drainage are now shifting to the sustainable model of drainage. These sustainable models involve recreating the natural drainage structures to collect rainwater, which is then cleaned before releasing back. These drainage systems are eco-friendly, easy to maintain and require very little energy to run.

Examples of sustainable drainage systems

Swales, rain gardens, bio-retention basins, filter drains and reed beds are some examples of sustainable drainage systems. These not only serve to prevent flash flooding after rainfall, but also prevent contamination of natural water sources.

Basics techniques used for sustainable drainage

The various techniques that are used for creating sustainable drainage systems are described as follows:
  1. Using Pervious concrete - The regular concrete used for constructing roads does not allow rainwater to pass through it, thereby depriving the groundwater stores to be replenished by rainwater. Using permeable concrete for constructing road makes sure that the rainwater passes through these structures and reaches groundwater levels.
  2. Making retention systems - Retention systems like retention basins and wetlands accumulate the rainwater and delay its discharge into the drainage systems, thus providing increased permeation to the ground.
  3. Creating infiltration systems - Infiltration systems like trenches and soak ways perform a similar function as retention systems described above.
  4. Performing pre-treatment of rainwater - Some structures like vegetation swales and filter trenches serve to remove the big particles and pollutants from the rainwater before it is passed through the discharge units.
  5. Controlling the source - Another efficient means of controlling flooding by rainwater run-off is to utilize maximum possible amount of water at the roofs and thereby reduce the amount of water entering the London drainage. An example of this method is developing green roofs that store water for subsequent use. Green roofs also help in evapotranspiration and reduction on flooding.
Benefits offered by sustainable drainage technology

Sustainable London drainage technology is offering a multitude of benefits. The following are some of its main benefits:
  • Benefit to ecology - Creating green roofs, swales, wetlands etc. provide an environment for flora and fauna to grow and diversify
  • Improvement in air and water quality - The green cover provided by these techniques is very efficient in reducing air and water pollution.
  • Economic impact - These practices also serve to help in economic growth because they generate more employment. In another aspect, these practices create beautified landscapes and increase the appeal of business areas, thereby leading to more customer turnover.
  • Increase in tourism - These drainage systems bring a lot more tourists to an area because of its natural beautification.
Sustainable drainage systems can greatly improve the quality of life along with their positive impact on the ecology. It is not surprising that many countries are adopting these practices and techniques.