The Sustainable Drainage Systems Design Guide for Essex 2020
Essex County Council is committed to making our county a place which provides the best possible quality of life for all.
Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are not a new concept. They have been nature’s way of dealing with rainfall, since time began. At its simplest, rain falling on the land may evaporate or be absorbed into the soil, nourishing our natural habitat, or else flows overland into ponds, ditches, watercourses and rivers, helping to sustain life by replenishing our precious water resource.
It is only recently that the balance of this natural water cycle has been disrupted. Modern urban development with its houses, roads and other impermeable surfaces has increasingly altered the way that rainwater finds its way into our soils, rivers and streams. Surface water has for many years been allowed to be collected and piped directly into our ditches and rivers. Conveying water away as quickly as possible from a development may adequately protect the immediate development from flooding but increases the risk of flooding occurring downstream. This unsustainable approach to surface water drainage, together with the potential effects of a changing climate, has contributed to some very serious consequences on life, property and the environment as evidenced by the disastrous experiences throughout the UK during the summer of 2007.