Development of a Strategy for Disconnecting Surface Runoff from the Sewer System

Description of the company
HAMBURG WASSER is the municipal utility for drinking water supply and wastewater disposal in Hamburg. With around 2000 employees, HAMBURG WASSER is primarily committed to serve the interests of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (FHH) and its citizens. In 2006, the municipal waterworks of Hamburg (Hamburger Wasserwerke GmbH, HWW) and the municipal wastewater department (Hamburger Stadtentwässerung, HSE) merged to the company HAMBURG WASSER (HW). HAMBURG WASSER offers its services not only in Hamburg but also in the metropolitan area, so that the company supplies around 2 Million people with high-quality drinking water and is responsible for their wastewater disposal.

Initial situation
Increasing urban densification through the construction of additional settlement and traffic areas, as well as the predicted effects of climate change, pose an increasing challenge to the urban drainage infrastructure. In order to counteract this development, with all its negative consequences for water and flood protection as well as the local, near-natural water balance, an early adaptation of the drainage infrastructure in Hamburg is required. The reduction of surface runoff that discharges to the sewer system represents an important element of the future-proof handling of rainwater in Hamburg.

The project RISA (RainInfraStructureAdaptation) is a cooperation between the Ministry of Environment and Energy and HAMBURG WASSER, which resulted in the “Structure Plan Rainwater 2030”. This project laid the foundations for a water-sensitive urban development in Hamburg (see Initial approaches to a strategy for disconnecting surface runoff from the sewer system have already been developed in a master thesis at HAMBURG WASSER. Subsequent to this, these results and ideas should be deepened and refined.

Aims of the project
The project will develop approaches for a Hamburg-wide strategy for disconnecting surface runoff from the sewer system. Existing preparatory work and ideas will be specified.

The main tasks for the students are the following:

1.    Disconnection potential (where can be disconnected and how much?)

  • Evaluation and prioritization of areas with a high potential for disconnecting of surface runoff as well as areas with a high need for action. Geographical and water management data will be used.
  • Identification of key  property owners /stakeholders with an extensive amount of sealed surfaces (e.g. schools, housing cooperatives, shopping centers, …) in these areas and evaluation of the potential for disconnecting surface runoffs of these stakeholders

2.    Disconnection measures (what are good and feasible measures or combination of measures?)

  • Assessment of various measures for disconnecting surface runoff (e.g. in terms of costs, effects, feasibility)
  • Special focus on new technical developments (e.g. with regard to evaporation, adiabatic building cooling, urban gardening / rain gardens)

3.     Disconnection strategy, public relations & communication (who can implement measures / with whom together measures can be implemented? How to motivate and support these stakeholders?)

  • Development of a strategy for disconnecting surface runoff taking into account the different stakeholders and areas as well as the strategies of other cities
  • Approaches for the funding of measures for surface runoff disconnection and possible regulatory instruments
  • Ideas for public relation activities and ideas for a communication campaign for a program for disconnecting surface runoff (e.g. via videos, social media or other PR strategies) (unconventional ideas are welcome) as well as strategic cooperations.

Target group

Students of the TUHH who are motivated for the independent and creative work on the described task. Above all, it is important to be interested in topics such as climate change and climate adaptation, urban water management, urban development, flood prevention, water protection and innovative environmental and building technologies.

Please reserve these dates:

  • 17 October: Information event with te companies, from 10am to 12pm, mainbuilding A; LuK
  • 24 October: Kick-off event, from 2pm to 6pm (obligatory attendance)
  • 27 October and 3 November: Project management course, full day (obligatory attendance)
  • Order clarification meeting: Mon 29-10-18, 9:30 - 11:30 Uhr, HAMBURG WASSER, Billhorner Deich 2, 20539 Hamburg