Creating holistic, sustainable and cost-effective storm water management - iWATER project

Cities all over the world are facing common challenges of increasing storm water floods, and degradation of natural resources and infrastructure caused by climate change and densified urban areas. How land is initially developed has tremendous bearing on the prospective quantity and quality of urban streams. Urban development removes the vegetation that intercepts, slows and returns precipitation to the air through evaporation and transpiration. These changes not only increase storm water runoff, but also accelerate the rate at which runoff flows across the land.

Conventional storm water drainage systems are designed to quickly carry runoff to rivers and streams, further exacerbating this effect. Moreover, the trend in land development towards densifying urban areas and increasing impervious surfaces has a direct impact on storm water quality by increasing both the concentration and types of pollutants carried by runoff, and therefore the degradation of aquatic habitats.

iWater project addresses those challenges by development of Integrated Stormwater Management concept improving urban planning and creating higher quality and more resilient urban space. The project has been awarded EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region’s HA Climate Flagship Status.  

Project provides platform for science-practice collaboration aimed at developing and testing common management methods, tools and solutions for Integrated Storm Water Management (ISWM). 7 iWater partner cities from Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Sweden adopted new ISWM programmes and more than 30 other cities from Baltic Sea Region will be trained to use developed methods in national context. Comprehensive ISWM Guidelines and iWater Toolbox are available on project website for any city interested in development of their storm water management.

To improve the city’s urban planning practices, The Green Area Factor (GAF) Tool was updated and adopted in partner cities bringing storm water elements a greater weight. It is a practical and user-friendly Excel-based tool ensuring sufficient appearance of green infrastructure when building new lots in a dense urban environment. This ready to use Tool improves the city’s prerequisites for adapting to climate change, decrease future costs of urban flooding and thus increase the overall urban sustainability.

The iWater project Final Conference will be organised on 7-8 May 2018 in Riga, Latvia.  

Meet the Project Coordinator working with the iWater project at the UBC Sustainable Cities Comission: 

Agnieszka Ilola 

Agnieszka has experience in working with sustainable development issues, stakeholder involvement and water quality management. Also, in integrated urban water management, cooperation with Russia and Belarus, communications and EU funding. Her educational background includes a Master of Science in Environment Protection and Management, degree in Waste Management.