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Formerly World Water & Environmental Engineering

Volume 33 / Issue 6 November/December 2010

Africa Utility operations: challenges and priorities. Page 13 Desalination Pump energy cost reductions. Page 27 Potable Water Arsenic removal. Page 31

Breaking tradition in flood control

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In this issue
Features 13 Market Report 13 Area Focus: Africa Reform necessary to strengthen Russian water sector
Utility operators challenges and priorities in East Africa

35 37
6 8 10 42 43 49 49 Commentary Commentary Global News Global News Milestones Innovations Innovations Events Events

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18 Regional Focus: Middle East 14 Drainage Flood Control  To fathom the& Middle East, think water; Task force
 Noexplore space is useless; Tunnel channels to desalination effects on Gulfstormwater drainage to the sea

22 Wastewater Treatment 20 Water Supply  Reed bed technology helps utility comply with

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EU directive  Financial and environmental returns crucial to water supply strategy; Seawater for toilet flushing in cities Water Treatment 26 coastal Advanced  Smart design yields sustainable recycled water in Singapore; From conception to delivery 27 supply Desalination in 30 months  Reducing pump energy costs in SWRO

Editorial Editorial Advisory Advisory Board Board

Bjorn von Euler Bjorn von Euler Director of Corporate Director of Corporate Philanthropy, ITT Philanthropy, ITT Thierry Mallet Thierry Mallet Chief Executive Officer of Chief Executive Officer of Degrmont Degrmont Daniel W. McCarthy Daniel W. McCarthy President & Chief Executive President & Chief Executive Officer of Black & Veatch Officer of Black & Veatch Corporation Corporation Corrado Sommariva Lisa Sorgini Managing Director, ILF Consulting Global Director for Municipal Engineers Middle East Strategic Marketing, Siemens Water Technologies Corrado Sommariva Managing Director, ILF Consulting Engineers Middle East
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World Water November/December 2010

14 Drainage & Flood Control Chris Digman, senior principal engineer at MWH, reviews the reasons why an integrated, sustainable approach to managing surface water should be adopted instead of investing in traditional solutions.

No space is useless

November/December 2010 World Water

Drainage & Flood Control 15

The traditional approach of flood management and water quality protection during major rain events is unsustainable given the increasingly difficult challenges of managing greater flood risks, complying with water quality standards, and affording the construction of large-scale infrastructure. Alternatively, a more feasible solution is to keep water on the surface. If flows are managed at source, close to where it falls, they can be slowly released downstream or returned to the ground. Surface water once conveyed across the urban area becomes polluted, so this approach can prevent pollution and facilitate treatment at or as close to the source as possible. Typically this approach may use sustainable drainage systems and hard-engineered aboveground channels, but most importantly they are integrated into the urban space. Australia, the United States, and some European countries have adopted this approach by retrofitting sustainable measures into urban areas. CIRIA, the construction industry research and information association, has recognized the need to help implement these measures in the United Kingdom. It appointed the global consultancy MWH along with the University of Sheffield to develop guidance to help decision makers and practitioners achieve this goal. CIRIA is based in London, England, UK. Major flooding in the UK in recent years has highlighted the limitations of the current approach to drainage. Some of the challenges that need to be considered while developing future water management policy and practices are:  Urban surface water management systems are built upon an aging legacy of combined and surface water pipes.  Climate change and historical planning decisions require the infrastructure to cope with an increasing challenge of managing greater flood risk in urban areas and pollution to watercourses and rivers.  Tighter standards through European legislation. The traditional approach to manage flooding and limit its effects on water quality has been to build large storage tanks to hold storm or flood water within piped systems. This water is returned to the system to eventually be treated at the wastewater treatment works; however this approach is unsustainable due to the high capital and environmental costs of continually building new and larger infrastructure. Many current solutions will also increase operational costs by increasing the volume of water to be treated. The reasoning is that infrastructure assets should be constructed in larger scale to accommodate changing rainfall patterns, which will increase the embedded and operational carbon footprint. Reasons for retrofitting There are many reasons to retrofit more sustainable, cost-effective measures to manage surface water, so the combination of these reasons and multiple benefits created by these measures are likely to drive the change in approach. Retrofitting could reduce surface water in combined sewerage systems, surface water sewers, culverts and watercourses to reduce flood risk; and reduce surface water in combined sewerage systems by reducing Integrated approach on street level Measures that complement and enhance the urban space need to be sensitively introduced in order to change the current approach to urban water management. Urban designers, planners, and surface water engineers must work together to successfully retrofit measures. Over time, urban streetscapes could be transformed to reflect the emphasis on keeping water on the surface. In Australia, parts of Europe, and the USA, more sustainable ways are used to manage surface water. This approach ensures that the public health benefits of traditional drainage are sustained while addressing the drivers for retrofitting. To achieve this in the UK, the following guiding principles should be adopted.  Surface water will be kept separate from wastewater.  Surface water will be managed on the surface.  Drainage systems will mimic natural processes, maximizing the quantity of water and pollutants that are retained and managed at source.  The impact of surface water on downstream systems in terms of quantity and quality will be kept to a minimum.  Urban areas will be designed to accommodate surface flood flow at times of extreme events through the dual use of roads and pathways as flood conveyance channels, and low value areas (parkland etc) used as sacrificial flood areas.  Buildings will be designed to be resistant to flooding by using materials and construction methods resilient to flood water.  The full amenity and bio-diversity potential of surface water management systems will be realized in the context of creating good quality urban space.  Surface water management will accord with the best practices for the management of the whole urban water cycle.  Measures will be sufficiently adaptable to address the needs of climate change. Finding opportunities Retrofitting presents other opportunities that also enable urban planners to expand beyond better urban drainage. This means taking a more holistic approach to retrofitting by looking across an entire neighbourhood or a catchment area instead of solving only one problem. This approach may consider a range of measures across an area, which together would manage surface water and take pressure off the underground system. Alternatively, opportunities may occur periodically where we see a slow progressive, but not necessarily joined-up suite of measures being retrofitted. This is likely to happen when a stakeholder, particularly a local authority, recognizes the benefits of retrofitting and uses more sustainable measures during general urban improvements. This may include retrofitting bioretention areas such as local rain gardens in a damaged verge, or permeable pavement where local parking areas are renewed. This approach could also be used during the refurbishment and regeneration of areas. Installation of such measures should be done sensitively to enhance and add value to the existing urban area. The broader needs of urban society should be considered when exploring water management solutions. It is a fantastic opportunity to enhance urban living space while also managing excess
World Water November/December 2010

An aboveground channel designed to convey flow to a storage pond.

discharges from combined sewer overflows. These measures can provide a secondary source of water and control pollution from surface water outfalls including highway drainage that can enter rivers. They can help manage the impact of urban creep (property extensions and paving over gardens) on existing systems; the impact of climate change on existing systems from increasing rainfall, such as intense summer rain storms and warmer, wet winters; impact of groundwater discharges; and extreme events to minimize flood risk. In addition, the retrofit of sustainable measures could improve the urban landscape of regeneration projects and create biodiversity and increasing green infrastructure while minimizing the heat island effect. This is where urban areas temperatures can typically be 3-4C higher and lead to higher levels of air pollution. The UK has started to increase the use of sustainable drainage systems in new development, mainly using above ground measures to manage water quantity and quality, rather than installing traditional piped systems. However the rate of redevelopment of existing areas will not be enough to change water management in order to reduce the volume and avoid the repeat of flooding, pollution, and other problems. Therefore retrofitting these new measures into the existing urban environment rather than increasing pipe sizes and placing storage within the below ground system will be critical for sustainable management of flooding and water quality impacts.

16 Drainage & Flood Control

Left: An example of changing the street to manage water on the surface through shallow above ground channels, planter, and bio-retention areas (Courtesy of CIRIA) Above: Underground storage and infiltration basin retrofitted to existing development in Delft, Netherlands.

Retrofitting could reduce surface water in combined sewerage systems, surface water sewers, culverts and watercourses to reduce flood risk; and reduce surface water in combined sewerage systems by reducing discharges from combined sewer overflows.

flows and improving rivers. Certain measures may more appropriately fit into different types of land use; for example retrofitting swales may not be appropriate in a terraced street with limited width, but feasible in a housing estate with wider grass verges. The philosophy that no space is useless should be considered when designing multi-functional measures to improve the level of biodiversity and quality of urban life for people. These urban design principles, described above, should be taken into account when considering potential future measures to deal with surface water. Three categories of measures source, pathway, and receptor are widely used to describe the surface water management process and the following advice helps work out where such measures can be used. Source refers to measures that manage surface water in the vicinity where the rain fell and from which surface water runs off into downstream systems. Source control includes infiltration measures that re-direct surface runoff either by
November/December 2010 World Water

disconnecting down-pipes or diverting it into temporary storage, for example, from permeable pavements from where it is infiltrated into the ground. Opportunities for infiltration into the ground arise in all areas with permeable ground where infiltration would not affect the quality of protected aquifers, waterlog the ground or create groundwater flooding elsewhere. Alternatively, flow can be held back in underground or surface storage such as rain water butts. This water can be slowly released into the downstream system or used as a valuable water resource. Surface storage can also incorporate vegetation to give a degree of treatment to pollutants, and provide amenity and biodiversity. Green roofs and rainwater gardens can help to manage part of the flow from a rain event. Source control can be very effective for routine storm events, but have a limited effect during extreme events. Pathway relates to the natural and constructed pathways along which surface water is conveyed and may be below ground (pipes and culverts) or above ground (channels, rivers, and streams). Above ground channels such as swales and storage ponds are preferred to pipes as flow is slowed down and attenuated. They can also provide treatment by working in series to reduce the pollutant load. Other opportunities that can enhance an area can be day-lighting watercourses. Drainage infrastructure has a defined capacity and sometimes it can be exceeded when there is too much runoff. Current practice in developed areas does not address this exceedance. This results in surface water escaping from the existing drainage and being conveyed on the surface along routes determined by topography such as streets, pathways, and open spaces in urban areas. Most places are not designed for this purpose, which can lead to indiscriminate flooding of properties, damaged infrastructure, lives put at risk, and public health being compromised. The economic, social, and environmental consequences can be severe; thus an important part of future surface water management will be managing exceedance. These measures are likely to have a dual use such as highways, above ground channels, and sacrificial storage areas. Receptors refer to parts of the area that are

affected by surface water. This may include areas subject to flooding or a watercourse being polluted. Measures may be incorporated to increase the flood resistance and resilience of a property, to reduce the time taken to recover from flooding, or to mitigate the effects of pollution. Challenge Achieving surface water management for frequent and extreme events will require professions to work closer together. CIRIAs technical guidance will help remove some of the hurdles to retrofitting while highlighting that such measures need to be implemented and funded holistically. Funding remains a big challenge for the different stakeholders responsible for surface water in the UK to deliver holistic solutions and use non-traditional surface water management measures. Cities need a high level of retrofitting to reduce flood and pollution risks and to increase the green areas of cities. This requires an effort of many years to deliver retrofit solutions, but until more funding is available, it is vital to take advantage of every opportunity when refurbishment and redevelopment occurs to retrofit measures and manage surface water differently. By managing surface water differently and recognizing that no space is useless, urban areas will be able to embrace the wider benefits made possible through an integrated, sustainable approach. Authors Note Christopher J. Digman, a chartered civil engineer, is a senior principal engineer at MWH, who has worked for more than 13 years in the water and wastewater industry. Currently the technical leader in the field of urban drainage for MWH, he is heading up the project to develop and write CIRIAs Retrofitting Surface Water Management Measures. With approximately 7,000 employees worldwide, MWH provides water, wastewater, energy, natural resource, program management, consulting, and construction services to industrial, municipal, utility, and government clients in Europe, the Americas, Middle East, India, Asia and the Pacific Rim.