OFWAT Innovation Fund will help SuDS sink in

SuDS-iQ, a collaboration with Southern Water to create a ground-breaking SuDS evaluation platform, is one of the winners of Ofwat’s #WaterBreakthroughChallenge4.

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are a holistic approach to managing rainfall that mimic natural drainage processes - helping to reduce flooding, watercourse erosion and pollution risks caused by development. They can also add important ecological and social value to our urban areas, and make them more climate resilient.

Regulatory drivers to deliver SuDS with high natural capital are weak. There are also significant challenges around industry upskilling, and there are no simple, planning-level tools to support stakeholders to design and evaluate SuDS to best practice.

SuDS-iQ will enable all practitioners to understand what SuDS are, how they work, and the benefits they provide within a visual, on-line environment.

Users will be able to collaborate on designs and explore how alternative SuDS solutions could influence outcomes. SuDS-iQ will contribute to more effective schemes by enabling a high level assessment of designs against water conservation, runoff control and environmental protection outcomes.

Bridget Woods-Ballard, technical director at HR Wallingford, said: “We believe that SuDS-iQ will help deliver a step-change in the uptake and understanding of SuDS. Working with CIWEM, engagement leads for the project, we will involve as many stakeholders as possible during co-creation, development and testing stages to ensure the platform directly meets industry needs.”

HR Wallingford were lead authors of the CIRIA SuDS Manual that sets out current industry good practice, have hosted simple tools on uksuds.com for nearly a decade, and run very popular on-line training courses.

SuDS-iQ will build on a research tool developed for a European Commission Horizon project (www.stopup.eu), with grant funding from UKRI.

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