Arcadis supports Sponge City programme in Wuhan, China

18 March 2016

The Wuhan City Water Authority in Central China has appointed Arcadis as the principle consultant for its Sponge City programme pilot. The deal, the value of which has not been disclosed, will see the engineering and consulting firm support the rollout of technologies to funnel excess rain water into functional settings, including irrigation and recharge depleted aquifers.

Wuhan is one of the most ancient civilized metropolitan cities in China, with a history that dates back 3,500 years. The city is the capital of Hubei province and is also the most populous city in Central China. The city, like many of the cities in Central China, faces water challenges with clearing rainwater from its streets. The number of Chinese cities affected by floods has almost doubled since 2008. To deal with flood water related issues, among others, the Wuhan City Water Authority (WCWA) was established in September 2001.

One of the latest initiatives of the WCWA, backed by the Central Government, is the Sponge City programme. The programme is aimed at reducing the risk of flooding and other water related problems within 16 major Central China cities by, among others, funnelling rainwater to irrigate gardens and urban farms. The programme, currently in its pilot phase, saw the 16 cities each provided with £62 million over the coming three years to create ponds, filtration pools and wetlands, as well as the construction of permeable roads and public spaces that allows stormwater to be soaked safely into the ground – potentially recharge depleted aquifers. Through the measures, the organisers hope that up to 60% of rainwater entering the cities will be dealt with independently of the stormwater system.

Arcadis - Sponge City programme in Wuhan

The Sponge City programme will in the coming months be piloted, and to support execution, the WCWA has appointed Arcadis as the principle consultant for the phase. In the role, the international consultancy firm will provide programme management advisory on the Wuhan sponge city programme – Wuhan is one of the first of 16 cities in China to pilot the initiative. The value of the deal has not been disclosed.

WenMei Ha, Head of China Water Management team at Arcadis Asia comments that the firm is “very excited to be part of this pioneer project in Wuhan.” He adds: “Blending green infrastructure with other flooding control measures, the Sponge City programme aims to reduce the economic and environmental damage caused by pluvial flooding in Wuhan and increase life quality for its residents. With our extensive hands-on experience and knowledge of water projects across the globe, we will be able to deliver efficient and sustainable results for the Sponge City projects.”


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