How SuDS reduce flooding at a school

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December 13, 2019 | Laura Westen

Imagine a school that has an area that always floods. All the children come in covered up to their knees in mud. There are only standard, traditional drainage methods like drains and then after a night of rain, there is too much water and the drains overflow.

They needed SuDS.

SuDS stands for Sustainable Drainage Systems. They are manmade ways of preventing flooding and they mimic nature so they look after themselves. They do exactly what natural things would do. Another great thing is that they harvest water so it doesn’t just go into the drain and get wasted.

The four main properties of SuDS.

SuDS look after water quantity which decreases flood risk because they absorb water. Another property is water quality. SuDS are great for this because instead of mixing chemicals and pollution in rainwater, they filter out the pollutants and take it to rivers and lakes so the animals and fish get clean water. SuDS also offer wider amenity and biodiversity for the community, by attracting wildlife and improving where we live and work.

What are the different types of SuDS?

There are several different types of SuDs. An example of this is a swale, a big ditch that’s filled with vegetation. There is often a wall on each end that has a pipe leading to a main drain. A swale slows water down so it doesn’t straight away go into the drains too fast and back up. There is also permeable paving, which is normal bricks that have little holes round the edge. When the rain falls, it goes into the holes and down into the soil below so the soil absorbs it.

photo of permeable paving       

An example of permeable paving   

swale with water in it

 A swale with water                          

No more flooding – or muddy legs

After the school put in a raingarden where there was flooding in the past, there was no more flooding and the children had greenery to play on. Not only that no more children went in with muddy legs and they learnt more about the natural world.

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Tags: sustainable drainage, SuDS, water quality, drainage design

About the Authors

Laura Westen

Laura Westen

Didcot Girls' School


Laura is a pupil at Didcot Girls' School.