SUDS stands for Sustainable urban drainage systems , they provide a natural approach to managing drainage.
SUDS prevent water pollution and flooding in urban areas and can create green spaces and habitat for wildlife in towns and cities. There are plenty of great examples of SUDS and they can be found all around you, you may be doing it in your own back garden without realising.
Green roofs – This is a layer of vegetation that acts as a control measure to deal with run-off, they can look very artistic . Green roofs have been around for centuries in Northern Scandinavia, recognised as reducing heat loss and energy consumption in winter months.
Permeable surfaces – permeable paving, gravel, grass grids , planting beds and mulched beds all enable water to soak away from the surface where it falls. It is a known fact that when stormwater runs off impermeable surfaces it picks up pollutants which in turn flow directly into rivers and canals. If you are having your driveways and gardens redesigned it would be opportune to look at permeable options.
Ponds can store water for longer, allowing natural processes to break down pollutants before the water flows into downstream watercourses. Large ponds are used as natural flood management methods, a network of ponds can be used to capture heavy rainfall effectively.
Wetlands hold back water like a sponge and then slowly release when water levels are low. They are great for maintaining good water quality in rivers and reduce the impacts from flooding and storms. Bogs, marshes and swamps are all examples of wetlands.
Water butts are great for storing water, during heavy rainfall the tap can be left open slightly to allow water to trickle away slowly, this will leave the butt available to take the heavy rainfall.
Swales are a dip in the garden that can store water and slowly allow it soak away , they can be planted with meadow seeds and plug plants.
The key benefits of SUDS
Slow down surface water run-off and reduce the risk of flooding
Reduce the risk of sewer flooding during heavy rain.
Provide valuable habitats for wildlife in urban areas.
Recharge groundwater to help prevent drought.
Natural methods like SUDS are not the only option for flood management but every little helps and a natural approach has a less harsh effect on the landscape.
This video link is an interesting example of how natural flood management has been implemented in the Stroud Valleys. ENJOY