The conventional solution to urban drainage problems employs a system with a certain storage, transport and treatment capacity. The limited efficiency of this solution is due to the lack in flexibility in operating the system under dynamic loading. Optimal systems performance can only be achieved by means of real time control (RTC) of the system. The potential of RTC should be considered not only after the system has been constructed, but in the design phase of the system as well, as it will influence the required capacities of the system elements. A model is presented that can be used to assess this potential on the basis of simulation of time series of rain events. For a simple fictitious system it is shown that by means of RTC considerable savings can be achieved. These are expressed in terms of extra storage or discharge capacity that would have been required in an uncontrolled system to reach the same overflow volume as when RTC is applied. Besides it is demonstrated that currently monitored process data provide sufficient information to operate the system in a proper way. Inflow forecasts may be useful but they are not absolutely necessary to derive a suitable operation strategy.

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