It Takes a Lot of Blue To Stay Green

Wednesday 30th June 2021

As we take steps towards creating greener cities, there’s a vital resource that is integral for progress: water. Water drives the beauty of nature. It’s not the source of life, it is life. This precious asset is essential for transforming our urban environments into vibrant and sustainable cities.


The cause for sustainable cities is a world-wide initiative. In the Middle East, many countries are taking steps towards adopting greener solutions across industries. The Dubai 2040 Master Plan, for example, outlines initiatives for sustainable urban development, including the development of more green spaces. In fact, the plan aims to dedicate 60% of the emirate to nature reserves and natural areas. The Saudi Green initiative advocates for the planting of 10 billion trees in the country in the coming decade.


But how can green spaces grow and thrive without intelligent water management solutions? Whether it’s Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) or Green Infrastructure, the right water management systems are more important than ever to ensure a more sustainable future for our cities and urban spaces.



What is ‘sustainable’ water management?


Sustainable water management means using water in a way that meets current social, economic and ecological needs, without compromising the ability to meet those in the future.


Systems that enable sustainable water management work with the earth’s natural water cycle of capture, store, treat and reuse. Essentially, these water management systems imitate the natural water cycle to create a sustainable cycle, rather than a traditional linear system where water is treated as a waste product.


Systems that account for water quantity, water quality and biodiversity are collectively referred to as SuDS. These Sustainable urban Drainage systems (SuDS) can have transformative benefits for building projects on a social, economic and environmental level.



Here are 5 benefits of using SuDS for your project:


1) Enable source control

SuDS mimic nature, typically managing rainfall close to where it falls. SuDS can be designed to transport surface water (convey), slow runoff down (attenuate) and provide areas to store water in natural contours or vegetated surfaces, allowing for it to soak (infiltrate) into the ground. A source control water strategy allows for more efficient use of the precious resource and enables the integration of green infrastructure.



2) Encourage the creation of green infrastructure

SuDS support the creation of green and blue roofs, which can deliver diverse benefits for the buildings within which they are constructed. Green roofs, for instance, can help combat climate change by absorbing CO2 and expelling oxygen. By fighting against pollutants, they can also help improve air quality. Furthermore, they can be used as multifunctional spaces that can be commercialized or used for health & wellbeing amenities, delivering a biodiverse green space in the heart of a city. They can even be used to create urban farms, helping to improve food security. And without SuDS, their existence wouldn’t be possible!



3) Deliver effective stormwater management

Stormwater travels fast, causing high volumes of water to flow into urban areas in a short space of time. This water can overwhelm drainage systems or collect in puddles and become stagnant, creating public health issues. Flooding is not only an inconvenience but a serious danger to human life. SuDS help to better manage rainfall, reducing flood risk by up to 80%.



4) Cool building temperatures

In the warm Middle Eastern climate, our buildings can run especially hot. As our landscapes have moved from green to grey, Urban Heat Island effect is a growing phenomenon in our cities. Hard surfaces in urban environments, such as concrete, glass, building facades, tarmac and roofing materials all have a high thermal mass, which collect the heat of the sun during the day and radiate it back slowly during the evening, specifically after sunset (much like a storage radiator). This then contributes to a significant rise in the ambient temperature, which creates Urban Heat Islands. Integrating SuDS enables the creation of green spaces in our cities. Greenery can help to lower city-wide ambient temperatures by up to 4°C and cool buildings more effectively.



5) Reduce costs and creates space

Efficient water management allows for more effective use of resources, which can enable major cost savings for buildings. Incorporating green roofs removes heat from the air through evapotranspiration, cooling surrounding temperatures and creating more efficient, self-sufficient structures. This in turn reduces cooling demands and associated costs, potentially reducing AC demands by up to 75%. As a more efficient system it also saves on construction, maintenance, labour and replanting costs, compared to traditional installation. Sustainable water management systems also replace traditional underslung pipework to allow more usable space in the building.


Learn more about the benefits of sustainable water management:





A sustainable water management solution


Permavoid is an award-winning water management solution by Polypipe Middle East, designed to provide shallow water storage for attenuation, detention or soakaway/infiltration applications. More importantly, the system allows the designer to adopt a ‘source control’ water strategy rather than a linear water system where water becomes a waste product.

Permavoid has been recognised by a number of organisations, such as Qatar Green Building Council and MENA Green Building Council, for its ability to support the creation of green infrastructure in our cities. This includes winning Green Building Product of the Year 2020 in the MENA region.


Learn more about the benefits of Permavoid:








For solutions that can support sustainable water management solutions for your next project, do not hesitate to contact us.


Tel: +971 (0) 4 807 3000



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