Even though urban drainage has been practised for more than 5000 years, many challenges arising from growing demands on drainage still remain with respect to runoff quantity and quality; landscape aesthetics, ecology and beneficial uses; and operation of existing urban wastewater systems. Further advances can be achieved by adopting an integrated approach, optimal operation of the existing infrastructure, advanced pollution and runoff source controls, improved resilience of receiving waters, and adaptive water management. The specific research needs include new technologies and strategies for stormwater management, advanced treatment of urban wet-weather effluents, and tools for analysis and operation of drainage systems. High diversity of demands on, and region/site specific conditions of, urban drainage shapes the role of urban drainage experts – as mediators among the many stakeholders and fields involved.

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