Making Sutton’s schools rainwater friendly!

What are SuDS?

With conventional drainage systems, rainwater rushes quickly into the sewers, which can become overwhelmed during periods of heavy rain, causing flooding. Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), including features such as rain gardens, water butts and tree pits, temporarily store rainwater, relieving pressure on our drains. By installing SuDS in 7 local schools, the SuDS in Sutton’s Schools (SiSS) project aims to reduce flood risks in the Hackbridge area by over 80%!

Why are SuDS needed?

In urban areas the natural water cycle has been disrupted. Water that might have once soaked into the ground now rushes down gulleys and drains. As more areas of land are built on or paved over, the amount of surface water flowing increases. The diagram below from susdrains shows how water behaves differently in an urbanised environment. 

Another impact of this increased surface water is poor water quality in our rivers. The water washing off our pavements and roads drains into our rivers through the surface water network, carrying pollutants and harming river ecosystems.

How do SuDS work?

SuDS aim to manage rainfall in a similar way to the natural water cycle. Natural vegetation is used to absorb rainwater and hard surfaces are made permeable, to allow water to soak into the ground.  Instead of rainwater rushing straight into the sewer network, it is temporarily stored and released slowly so that the sewer network is able to cope.

What are the benefits of implementing SuDS in schools?

Schools often have some of the largest areas of impermeable surfaces in the local area. So implementing SuDS in Schools can have numerous benefits, including:

  • Reducing flood risk in the local area
  • Improving river water quality by filtering out pollutants
  • Creating greener playgrounds for the school community
  • Increasing opportunities for wildlife
  • Providing an educational resource for schools
  • Raising awareness of flood risks and the role of SuDS

For examples of what SuDS look like in practice, go to our Case Studies page.