In the Nordic countries, there is an increasing challenge in urban planning and development to mitigate the effect of future cloudburst due to climate change. Envidan has brought Norwegian and Danish specialists into an innovation project led by the municipality of Bærum in Norway. The overall objective is to build a concept that supports broad collaboration across actors in the urban development and easy access to decision support basis.

Back in September 2021, the Norwegian municipality, Bærum, formed a collaboration with a Danish-Norwegian consortium led by Envidan, with partners SLA Norge, Menon, Aarhus Vand and SCALGO. From the beginning, the ambition has been to develop a new tool which is able to help municipalities collaborate better internally when it comes to planning climate adaption.

This is done in two parts. Firstly, a new framework for cloudburst planning has been made, a digital and adaptive cloudburst plan. The digital cloudburst plan will help to ensure that areas with flooding risks and areas with potential to mitigate the damages is identified. Secondly, a tool to make it easier to create this plan, has been developed. This tool is going to be an integrated part of the well-known SCALGO Live and, with help from Envidan, is now able to make complicated hydrodynamic calculations and compute the estimated damages caused by a flooding. In addition to this, an optimized work processes among the municipality's employees have been suggested to Bærum Municipality.

Staying ahead of cloudbursts and the risk of flooding

The Danish-Norwegian consortium will create a framework and a tool for the digital cloudburst plan. Here, engineers and software specialists from Envidan have developed an engine that efficiently can make hydrodynamic simulations. SCALGO makes this data available in a digital solution where data is handled and made available to the municipality.

Furthermore, it will be possible to calculate the estimated annual damage on buildings and specific infrastructure. As a drag and drop functionality, climate adaption solutions can be implemented, and the effects can be simulated. After the mitigating effect has been simulated, it is possible to do a socioeconomic calculation.

In this way, we can ensure that the right climate adaption solutions are chosen. And since not all benefits can be represented as an economic value, there has been developed a new “benefit point system.”

This benefit point system is made upon the ecosystem services where the climate adaption solutions score positive points based on the positive impact on biodiversity, CO2 absorption, better air quality, etc. SCALGO makes these results available in a digital solution where data is handled and made available to the municipality.

The idea behind the digital cloudburst plan is that analyzes are prepared of the entire catchment area to get an overview of where stormwater will potentially do damage and identify areas where it could be possible to implement mitigating climate adaption solutions.

By getting this overview, even before the construction of, for example a new building or road, the risk of cloudbursts can be considered, whether the intended area has been pointed out as a possible solution to a flooding in the vicinity or is subject to flooding when the cloudburst hits. This will give a more holistic approach to city planning when it comes to cloudburst planning.

Efficient workflows for handling rainwater

In connection with urban renewal and expansion, there are many interests at stake in Bærum municipality, and many factors influence the work processes to ensure good and secure stormwater management. As part of developing the new innovative tool, the project has also helped identifying critical points in the municipality's workflows and processes that can be handled more optimal to make sure the planning for cloudburst mitigation is done across administrative boarders.

Through workshops, meetings, and dialogue with the various departments in Bærum municipality, the consortium has drawn up proposals for new work processes that focuses on more interdisciplinary interaction and use of the tool in the proceedings.

The digital cloudburst plan and the innovative tool will not only ensure a greater overview, a better basis for decision-making, and a greater insight into the future risk of floods. This will also put the employees in the municipality in a better position to make data-driven decisions in connection with stormwater management and can thereby work more efficiently.

Tor Morten Olsen

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Tor Morten Olsen

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