Retrofit solutions

Retrofitting surface water management can provide exciting opportunities to manage local flood risk, diffuse water pollution and can deliver urban design and amenity benefits.

One of the greatest challenges for surface water management is the legacy of drainage networks that struggle to cope with the increase in surface water volumes due to urbanisation and climate change. Stakeholders should consider the opportunities that retrofitting offer to manage surface water in a different way whilst helping to regenerate urban environments. No space is useless, and many retrofit opportunities can be exploited if an innovative approach to managing surface water is adopted. Taking this approach means that urban areas are enhanced to create better places to live, delivering a wider range of benefits than previously experienced with traditional drainage systems.

To encourage the uptake of retrofit solutions, CIRIA recently published Retrofitting to manage surface water (C713) guidance. This guide deliberately challenges many of the current conventions applied to managing surface water runoff and puts urban design at the heart of future solutions. The new guide deals with the engineering aspects of retrofitting surface water management measures, covers the organisational and governance aspects of drainage and looks at the need for adequate funding. The guidance also focuses on appraisal approaches, how different agencies can work better together, public expectations and why delivering multiple benefits are important.

Three launch events were held in Bristol, London (where the presentations were filmed) and Leeds and delegates gained an overview of the work completed and how this has drawn on experiences from both the UK and overseas. Attendees also had the opportunity to hear from a variety of other speakers that have been or are actively engaged in retrofitting to manage surface water.

To view the presentations from the London event visit 24 April - London (YouTube)

A number of the industry experts were also interviewed in London (YouTube) to discuss:

  • What is CIRIA’s role in delivering sustainable drainage?
  • What are the opportunities for retrofitting to manage surface water?
  • What are the challenges for retrofitting to manage surface water, and how can CIRIA help?

 For more information please email Jonathan Glerum at CIRIA.