The Role Of Hydraulic Engineering In Sustainable Urban Development

two workers in a water plant to show the role of hydraulic engineering in sustainable urban development.

As urbanisation increases and the demand for sustainable living grows across the country, maintaining and improving the quality of life in cities, towns, and villages becomes a significant challenge for urban planners. Particularly in southern and central England, where densely populated conurbations are experiencing rapid change and expansion of their residential housing base, it is essential to address the complexities of urban development and environmental management.

Click Here To View Our Hydraulic Product Range
A crucial part of this challenge is the role of hydraulic engineering in facilitating the efficient and sustainable use of local water resources, including water supply systems, wastewater management, flood prevention, and ecological preservation.

Water Supply Systems

The provision of potable water is one of the most crucial factors in any urban development. Hydraulic systems play a role in developing and operating water supply systems that ensure the ready availability of safe drinking water to residents and businesses, without depleting local resources or damaging nearby ecosystems. Water supply infrastructure that depends on hydraulic systems include storage tanks and pipelines, treatment plants, and pumping stations, among other applications. Hydraulic systems also enable water to be supplied at optimal pressures, saving energy, and reducing water loss due to leaks or bursts – currently a chronic problem for the UK’s water mains system in which trillions of litres of drinking water are lost each year.

Wastewater Management

Wastewater and sewage management is an essential part of establishing a new residential estate, as the safe treatment and disposal/reuse of wastewater can prevent the buildup of pollution and protect public health. Hydraulic systems play a central role in transporting, collecting, and treating wastewater in urban and rural areas, and advanced ‘green’ hydraulic systems such as membrane bioreactors and constructed wetlands can even remove nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater, preventing eutrophication and promoting ecological diversity. These systems increase the sustainability of wastewater management and help contribute to building a cleaner future for new urban areas.

Flood Prevention

Urban development places pressure on the local water table and increases the risk of flooding in low-lying areas, with a heightened flood risk bringing misery to millions of UK homes every year. Well-designed hydraulic systems can assist flood prevention measures by facilitating the drainage of rainwater and reducing the environmental risks associated with floods. These systems can include pumps and drainage systems that proactively remove surface water from urban areas and can even incorporate green infrastructure such as rain gardens and bioswales to absorb and treat excess rainwater, thus reducing the amount of water entering the public sewer. This synergy of hydraulic systems and green infrastructure may prove crucial in the coming years for developing resilient urban communities that can withstand the challenges of a changing climate.

Ecological Preservation

Hydraulic systems are not only important for creating new urban developments but also play a role in preserving the environment and ecological diversity within these new communities, e.g. by conserving water resources, preventing pollution, and safeguarding local waterways and rivers.

Next Steps

As developers and urban planning authorities strive towards a more sustainable vision of urban development, efficient water management becomes ever more essential. Hydraulic systems have a key role to play in this transformation, and work in synergy with green infrastructure and monitoring technologies to help create practical systems that promote human well-being and preserve the local environment for generations to come.

To find out more about hydraulic system design and its use in urban water management applications, please click here.

How To Minimise Downtime With Pneumatic Plant And Machinery.
Image Source: Canva