French utility company, Suez has secured a contract for performance optimisation of sewer and stormwater systems in the the new eco-district of Yuelai in Chongqing, in China.

The Group will deploy AQUADVANCED Urban Drainage, a digital solution allowing local authorities to monitor their sewer and stormwater networks in real time to mitigate the risk of flooding and control the quality of discharges into the natural environment.

This solution, which is being deployed in China for the first time, is part of the Sponge City programme launched by the Chinese government to increase cities’ resilience to the risk of floods.

Rising urbanisation in China, along with the increase in extreme weather events due to climate change, increase the risks of floods and pollution in urban areas. Stormwater is responsible for 50% of the pollution flowing into rivers and beaches in urban areas.

The Sponge City programme seeks to improve cities’ resilience by optimising the capacity of sewer systems to harvest and treat these stormwater volumes. Among the 30 cities selected by the Chinese government, Chongqing is a pioneer in the development of a solution for the optimisation of sewer and stormwater networks.

AQUADVANCED Urban Drainage will be deployed on a surface area of 18.7 km2 in the new eco-district of Yuelai in Chongqing. This solution represents an investment of 4 million euros and will be launched in April 2017. Then, it can be expanded to other neighbourhoods in the city.

It will give local authorities a global, real time vision of the complete system based on data from sensors installed both in the network and in the receiving environment and on short-term weather forecasts.

By centralising and analysing all these data, the software solution will enable authorities to protect the population from the risk of floods and limit the pollution of the Yangtze, the longest river in Asia and an essential water supply for populations.

AQUADVANCED Urban Drainage has already been successfully deployed in about twenty cities throughout the world, including the Paris agglomeration, the Bordeaux metropolitan area, Barcelona, and Singapore, where it was able to reduce by up to 45% the volume of polluted stormwater discharged into rivers or the sea.

As a leader in Smart Water solutions in Europe, SUEZ pursues its development on this market in China and across Asia, a continent with high growth potential given the pressure on resources in this water-stressed region.

This contract marks a new step in the development of SUEZ in Chongqing, where the Group has supported authorities in improving the water distribution network and the treatment of urban and industrial wastewater since 2002.

SUEZ and its partners invested over Yuan 3bn, making Chongqing a key region for SUEZ’s investments in China. In December 2015, the Group created Derun Environment, a leading player in environmental services in China.

With the combination of increasing weather extremes such as severe storms, alongside the phenomenal growth of cities in many parts of the world, the potential for urban devastation is pronounced. With storms, increased rainfall often overwhelms rivers, drains and gutters, resulting in widespread flooding.

However, some water managers are trying to view the abundance of this natural resource as an opportunity to rethink how the urban environment is designed and can function.