Integrated urban drainage, status and perspectives

Poul Harremoës

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This paper summarises the status of urban storm drainage as an integrated professional discipline, including the management-policy interface, by which the goals of society are implemented. The paper assesses the development of the discipline since the INTERURBA conference in 1992 and includes aspects of the papers presented at the INTERURBA-II conference in 2001 and the discussions during the conference. Tools for integrated analysis have been developed, but there is less implementation than could be expected. That is due to lack of adequate knowledge about important mechanisms, coupled with a significant conservatism in the business. However, significant integrated analyses have been reported. Most of them deal with the sewer system and the treatment plant, while few incorporate the receiving water as anything but the object of the loads to be minimised by engineering measures up-stream. Important measures are local infiltration, source control, storage basins, local treatment and real time control. New paradigms have been introduced: risk of pollution due to system failure, technology for water reuse, sustainability, new architecture and greener up-stream solutions as opposed to down-stream concrete solutions. The challenge is to combine the inherited approaches with the new approaches by flexibility and adaptability.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1-10
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • water quality
  • sustainable drainage
  • wastewater treatment
  • Integrated management
  • real time control
  • sewerage
  • urban drainage


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