Next-gen urban drainage keeps cities safe

StormwaterAs global climates become increasingly unpredictable, authorities are turning to smart urban stormwater management solutions to better anticipate and manage the risk of flooding and untreated water discharge. SUEZ’s innovative AQUADVANCED® Urban Drainage technology is leading the charge.

The port city of Bordeaux’s hydrographic situation makes it particularly susceptible to flooding. Built on a bend of the Garonne River in France’s southwest, it is vulnerable both to the river’s recurrent water level rises and a local climate highly conducive to storms. In rainy seasons, the volume and quality of water discharged into the local environment can have a devastating impact on infrastructure and on the public health and safety of the city’s 200,000 inhabitants.

The urban discharge quality during rainy periods have been directly linked to negative environmental impacts in the region since the late 1990’s. A volume of 11.2 million cubic metres had been discharged into the receiving environment as recently as 2012, and the looming threat placed regional water policy at the fore for Bordeaux Métropole municipality. The solution lay in AQUADVANCED Urban Drainage, a technologically advanced sewer and stormwater management solution developed by SUEZ.

“AQUADVANCED Urban Drainage offers an integrated solution to monitoring, predicting and ultimately managing stormwater networks in real time,” SUEZ General Manager of Business Development Stuart Gowans said.

“From this detailed monitoring comes a unique ability to anticipate flood risks both accurately and well in advance, preventing overflows into streets, rivers or harbours. It also allows us to analyse water quality at outlets such as rivers and oceans to avert potential environmental harm.”

SUEZ worked with the municipality to map the deployment of AQUADVANCED Urban Drainage across its assets, including 3,000km of rain and wastewater mains. Working with Bordeaux’s existing assets, SUEZ adapted equipment designed to combat flooding to build in capacity and minimise pollution, manage 260 devices and 11,000 settings, and monitor 41 rainfall recorders with 211 levels and 22 flow rates.

Bordeaux’s AQUADVANCED Urban Drainage system became fully operational in December 2012. Within one year of operation, the city experienced an impressive 30 per cent reduction in discharge volume.

“This meant that Bordeaux could respond to the July 2013 forecasts for heavy rain, emptying the system in anticipation of the volumes needed to absorb and manage controlled structures in real time,” Gowans said.

“Today, Bordeaux’s system functions is at near to full capacity in wet weather. Optimised storage in retention structures and better management of treatment facilities have also saved the city €30 million.”

Its use case doesn’t end in France. AQUADVANCED Urban Drainage is a powerful tool for water utilities here in Australia to enhance operational efficiency, public safety and environmental protection in stormwater and wastewater networks. 

“SUEZ has put a great deal of research and development into creating smart digital solutions that protect cities and the environment,” Gowans said. “AQUADVANCED Urban Drainage is a significant part of our investment in transforming the water management sector across the globe.” 

Learn more about SUEZ’s AQUADVANCED solutions.