In the last of our short series of blogs on Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), we are going to discuss the benefits that they can have beyond water quality and quantity.
The primary aim of SuDS is to improve the management of surface water. However, design considerations of SuDS go far beyond the functionality of the drainage system. The idea of SuDS is to provide drainage systems which have multiple benefits for the surrounding environment.
Wildlife and Biodiversity
Well-designed SuDS can provide a range of habitats that are good for water management and also provide shelter, food and foraging opportunities for a variety of wildlife species. Through creating new habitats and rehabilitating or enhancing existing ones, a good SuDS design can therefore have a positive impact on biodiversity. As discussed in one of our previous blogs, a strong biodiversity brings about important benefits.
Health and Well-being
As cities continue to develop and areas become more urbanised, society is becoming increasingly disconnected from nature (WWF). There are increasing amounts of evidence to suggest that the presence of more green space helps to improve quality of life and human health (Susdrain). This can include improved aesthetics and soundscapes and can reduce the heat of the city that is captured and reflected by concentrated areas of man-made structures. Well-designed SuDs can provide good public green space in urbanised areas and help to improve the quality of local life.
Education and Recreation
Many components of sustainable drainage systems not only provide a visual benefit to the local area but can be used for both recreational and educational purposes. SuDS can be added to school grounds, providing an attractive area and educational resource on their doorstep.
Some components of sustainable drainage systems, such as green roofs, trees, swales and basins, can help to improve air quality in the local area by absorbing pollutants and even removing them from the atmosphere. This is particularly beneficial in areas where air pollution is already a problem and this improvement to air quality can benefit people who live in and like to visit the area.
Sustainable drainage systems and their components have a wide range of benefits that help to enhance the local area where they have been deployed. By mimicking nature, SuDS are able to combine managing water quality and quantity with improving the natural surroundings for both people and wildlife.
Can you see the positive impact to having a more sustainable approach to managing surface water?