Automated screening of control potential with spatially explicit results to support dialogue about sewer overflow reduction and beyond

N.S.V Kirstein*, P.S. Mikkelsen, M. Rungø, R. Löwe

*Corresponding author for this work

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For real-time control to become a standard measure for upgrading urban drainage systems, control potential screenings need to be easily integrated into already existing early planning processes. However, current screening methods are either not aligned with the present planning process, unrelatable for water managers or too time-consuming. We therefore developed an automated screening methodology through a co-design process with six Danish utilities. The process started out from a literature review, included interviews and workshops, and resulted in the control potential screening tool COPOTO. In the co-design process, utilities generally responded that indicators based solely on an assessment of static system attributes are insufficient. Thus, COPOTO instead takes advantage of urban drainage simulation models that are commonly available and postprocesses the results from these models. The decision context considered in initial planning phases was found to include environmental, economic, social and technical objectives that were highly case-dependent. When presenting CSO reduction potentials, the utilities therefore generally preferred interactive, spatially explicit visualisations that link the CSO reduction at a particular location to the storages and actuators that need to be activated. This enables water managers to discuss, for example, operational constraints of a considered control location. COPOTO provides such assessments with very limited manual and computational effort and thus facilitates the integration of real-time control into standard planning workflows of utilities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number121527
JournalWater Research
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Collaborative design approach combined sewer overflow control potential screening real-time control urban drainage
  • Combined sewer overflow
  • Control potential screening
  • Real-time control
  • Urban drainage


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