A next-generation permeable pavement that allows rainwater to be absorbed by the ground beneath could soon be trialled across the UK in an effort to combat flooding through water-smart cities.
UK Government advisers have found that 325,000 homes and businesses are at high risk of floods when intense rainfall overwhelms drains, a problem exacerbated by concrete surfaces in cities. Kiacrete, developed by a team from Imperial College London, uses an advanced material consisting of concrete with a bespoke plastic drainage structure to efficiently drain stormwater. The gradual release means that the ground beneath the slabs doesn’t become overwhelmed and water-logged.
Kiacrete could lead to significant environmental improvements, reduced risk of sewage overflows (which occur after heavy rainfall), a more resilient and sustainable water sector, and lower customer bills.
The solution is one of the 20 finalists in water regulator Ofwat’s Water Discovery Challenge, a £4m competition for innovators outside of the water sector with bold and ingenious ideas that can help solve complex challenges.
A filtration device that enables roadside drains to catch particulate pollution is also amongst the finalists. The technology captures pollution that would otherwise be washed into the ocean following heavy rainfall in cities. The system, from Guerilla Technologies, will capture particulate matter – containing microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are so small they can be inhaled and cause serious health problems.
The Water Discovery Challenge is part of series of competitions from Ofwat run by Challenge Works with Arup and Isle Utilities, designed to drive innovation and collaboration to benefit customers, society and the environment.
To find out more about the competition, visit: waterinnovation.challenges.org/water-discovery-challenge