University of Twente Student Theses


Storm water management solutions to improve urban climate resilience: a capillary water system

Bildt, E.M. van de (2018) Storm water management solutions to improve urban climate resilience: a capillary water system.

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Abstract:The urban water cycle is becoming increasingly unbalanced due to the growing urbanization and climate change. Every year, heavy rainfall and flooding events are increasing in both frequency and intensity. Combined with the rapid urbanization, this causes some serious challenges for many cities in Europe. As rainfall becomes more intense, the surface runoff can exceed the capacity of drainage and sewer systems. Furthermore, as cities have a large amount of impermeable surfaces, such as pavement, the percentage of rainfall absorbed by the soil is very low. The cities’ challenge is to manage storm water of impervious surface in urban areas, and to address sewer overflow problems. However, the increasing urbanization, on-going density, and paving of ground surfaces result not only in water related challenges but also contribute to higher temperatures and longer periods of drought in cities. Urban water management needs to be improved to make urban areas climate resilient. Public space can play an important role in coping with the extreme rainfall. This space can serve as temporary water storage, while the precipitation can be discharged over a longer period of time. However, space in an urban area is limited and therefore valuable. This research aims to contribute to storm water management solutions for climate-resilient cities in order to support Wavin in developing and implementing above ground solutions. Highly urbanized areas are significantly warmer than the surrounding area. This is mainly due to the fact that paved surfaces and buildings absorb heat and diminish the evaporation from the ground and plants. Municipalities are conducting stress tests to map out the consequences of climate change in terms of urban flooding, heat waves, and drought. From the information collected during interviews, it can be concluded that adaptation plans and projects focus less on mitigating higher temperatures than on water management. Moreover, a market research was carried out that summarized broad-scaled effective above ground solutions. This, too, showed that existing solutions mainly consist of water related solutions. Current trends and existing solutions to climate change adaptation were compared using a game technique. The results showed that future solutions have to focus on multifunctional solutions to: 1) achieve the water challenges; 2) mitigate the effect of higher temperatures; and 3) provide added value. Therefore, this research seeks to bridge the gap between the indication of vulnerable locations and the customer’s search for multifunctional water systems. To align the findings to Wavin’s capabilities, this research suggests the incorporation of lower green areas to reduce surface temperatures through evaporative cooling as a potential solution. Calculations to measure the cooling effect show that the availability of rainwater has become a limiting factor in cities. To develop and implement evaporative cooling, water needs to be saved for longer periods of drought. This results in an innovative technique, so called capillary irrigation, that uses a minimal amount of water. The technique enables constant transport of water from a below ground storage tank to the vegetation root zone which provides day-to-day evaporation to locally decrease air temperature. Capillary action is based on transporting water upward through absorbent material without the assistance of pumps. This fits the customer requirement to minimize maintenance. Several materials were tested to present the feasibility of the final concept. During the refinement of the final concept, it was concluded that it is important to create a very fine structure to improve the capillary action. Finally, recommendations are put forward to implement and develop the capillary water system in order to make cities more resilient to a warmer climate.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:02 science and culture in general, 56 civil engineering, 74 (human) geography, cartography, town and country planning, demography
Programme:Industrial Design Engineering MSc (66955)
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