Water storage in cities

water storage, recollect, recycle, reuse water management

Rotterdam car-park, which doubles as one of the Netherlands’ largest underground water storage facilities, capable of holding 10 million liters

The construction of additional water storage facilities and water plazas, and the provision of incentives for green roofs, all help to preserve the optimal quality of life in the city despite the drastic climate change.

These initiatives involve innovative alternatives for water storage, solutions for water collection during heavy downpours (emergency storage), and options to delay the discharge of rainwater. The aim is that even during dry periods the city will have water of a sufficient quality.

Water storage, recollect, recycle, reuse

The Rotterdam Museumpark carpark, has been doubled and is now one of the Netherlands’ largest underground water storage facilities, capable of holding 10 million liters.

Water squares

The city is also studying possible locations for the construction of water plazas. These water plazas will fill up in a controlled manner during heavy rainfall, preventing surrounding streets from flooding. In dry periods, these water plazas can be effectively used as open public spaces. DeUrbanisten, a Rotterdam-based architecture firm specialising in water related urbanisation, sustainable cities and the design of public spaces, was tasked with the project of designing such a space.

Sports field and Play field

Known as the watersquare because of its shape, the design is presented in two main parts: a sports field and a hilly playfield. The sports field is sunken into the ground by one meter and is surrounded by steps which also functions as a grandstand where spectators can sit and watch a game. The playfield compromises of several spaces that are set at different levels where people can sit and have a relaxing picnic or where children can play. Both parts are enclosed within a green frame of grass and trees which borders the square.

It is only during times of heavy rainfall will the watersquare change its appearance and function. Design ensures that the spaces flood in a gradual manner and collected rainwater flows into the watersquare and fill different parts of the hilly playfields.

Gradually fill

Rainwater remains in the watersquare until it can be discharged into the nearest water body. Short cloudbursts create streams, brooklets and small ponds that allow children to play in and around the water. During prolonged downpours, the watersquare will gradually fill up until the sports fields are flooded and the square becomes purely a water storage basin. It is expected to hold a maximum of 1000 cubic metres of rainwater.

It is worth noting that the watersquare is not a sewage treatment facility – it will only require a clean sewerage system of rainwater.


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