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Sustainable drainage

The decision by government not to implement Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, which would have provided a comprehensive regime for surface water drainage, has led water companies to consider their role in relation to the adoption of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS).

This work was initially foreseen as a revision of the long-standing, voluntary, Sewers for Adoption manual and would have resulted in a further version of that manual – “SfA 8”.

In the event, the work was subsumed within the sector’s work to implement Ofwat’s Code for Adoption Agreements.  This code requires the water sector to prepare guidance on both water and sewerage asset adoption.  That guidance must include “Design and Construction Guidance” and it is that document (also known as the DCG) which now contains details of the water sector’s approach to the adoption of SuDS which meet the legal definition of a sewer.

Since the Pitt Report in 2008, a succession of enquiries have identified that one of the major impediments to the increased use of SuDS is uncertainty about long-term maintenance of the SuDS.  While the legal regime under which water companies operate will not allow all SuDS to be adopted by water companies, the new, mandatory approach should see a significant increase over time of SuDS assets being adopted by water companies as sewers.

The DCG, as well as all the other elements of the Sewerage Sector Guidance will be available on the Water UK website – here.

We have also prepared a non-technical guide to the new approach which explains how it applies in practice. The guide contains illustrations of potentially adoptable SuDS assets and is available here”.