Alternative Technology for Stormwater Management: The South African Guidelines for Sustainable Drainage Systems
By Neil Armitage, Michael Vice, Lloyd Fisher-Jeffes, Kevin Winter, Andrew Spiegel and Jessica Dunstan
Stormwater management in the urban areas of South Africa has and continues to predominantly focus on collecting runoff and channelling it to the nearest watercourse. This means that stormwater drainage currently prioritises quantity (flow) management with little or no emphasis on the preservation of the environment. The result has been a significant impact on the environment through the resulting erosion, siltation and pollution. An alternative approach is to consider stormwater as part of the urban water cycle, a strategy which is being increasingly known as Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) with the stormwater management component being known as Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS).
SuDS attempts to manage surface water drainage systems holistically in line with the ideals of sustainable development. It aims to design for water quantity management, water quality treatment, enhanced amenity, and the maintenance of biodiversity. In so doing many of the negative environmental impacts of stormwater are mitigated and some benefits may, in fact, be realised.