Water management

Water is our most valuable resource and must be treated as such, which is why water management is vital. The lack of (fresh) water is one of our biggest urban challenges. We make it possible to create truly circular, nature-based, on-site solutions for sustainable water management in cities.

What is sustainable urban water management?

Sustainable water management, also called low impact development (LID), describes the urban planning and engineering design approach to manage and reduce water runoff and focuses on improving water quality while delivering environmental, social and economic benefits.

How does stormwater form a problem in urban areas?

Stormwater runoff is a major cause of water pollution in urban areas. When rain falls on roofs, streets and parking lots in cities, the water can’t infiltrate into the soil as it should. Stormwater drains through gutters, storm sewers, and other engineered collection systems before being discharged into local bodies of water. The stormwater runoff transports all kind of pollutants from the urban landscape. 

Higher flows resulting from heavy rains can also cause erosion and flooding in urban streams, damaging habitat, property, and infrastructure. Green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, and other elements and practices to restore some of the natural, circular processes required to manage water and create healthier urban environments.

Our solution for proper on-site water management

On-site water management starts with healthy trees. Unfortunately, most urban trees fail to thrive. This is because more often than not, their roots lack the required space to grow. Consequently, our solutions for water runoff management start with creating the perfect environment for trees to grow and to deal with runoff water. This solution takes the form of the TreeBuilders’ TreeParker system. This soil containment system maximizes available space belowground. Thus, it provides unlimited expansion for trees to grow, while preventing root heave. So, how does this help with on-site water management? The system deals with rainwater runoff at the source, rather than let it run in the sewers.

Underground Bioretention

Trees are the best filters for our cities. Bioretention cells are designed to treat polluted stormwater runoff from adjacent pavements. Our bioretention system uses the root soil volume and does not take up the extra space that ordinary bioretention does.

Circular urban water cycle

Urbanisation is characterised by a high percentage of impervious surfaces, limited green areas and has altered the natural water balance leading to a much greater discharge of waste water and poor-quality runoff. Infiltration in groundwater is reduced and the quality may also be degraded due to the presence of pollutants, which in turn damage aquatic habitats. Limited tree coverage reduces water storage in root systems, the release of water into the atmosphere through transpiration and natural pollution that is filtered mainly through tree roots.

Water Sensitive Urban Design

As a result, increased attention is paid to managing the water cycle in urban development. Often referred to as Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) or Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), these are an alternative approach to traditional rainwater management. It’s focused on compensating the effects of overly paved areas and to limit the changes in natural water management by local water reuse and temporary storage. The main principles include the integration of rainwater into the landscape, the protection of its quality and the reduction of peak loads caused by more extreme rain events.

Water sensitive urban design (WSUD) makes use of better urban planning

and design to reuse stormwater and prevent it from reaching our waterways by mimicking the natural water cycle as closely as possible. Known practices are: 

  • Rain gardens that are specially-designed garden beds that filter stormwater runoff from surrounding areas. Rain gardens consist of a shallow planted depression designed to retain or detain stormwater before it’s infiltrated or discharged downstream. Bioretention basins serve the same purpose as rain gardens but with a more technical term that typically describes large projects in community common areas as well as non-residential applications.
  • Water infiltration units that are designed structural units for submerged use managing two important tasks; subsurface water retention and infiltration. The units combine high storage capacity with an enormous stability for underground use. 

Bioretention & underground water storage

Our underground bioretention system serves both functions; bioretention and underground water storage. A “submerged rain garden”, existing of modular units, that uses soil to support large tree growth and provides powerful on site water management through absorption, evapotranspiration, interception and filtration, while not taking up extra space in the crowded city area.

Related products

TreeParker® system

Modular structural soil cell system including stormwater management. Our TreeParker system offers the most ideal circumstances for trees to thrive beneath the pavement.  


Sandwich construction

Load-bearing and pressure spreading system. Pressure spreading systems spread the load of vehicle movements around the rooting area of the tree and eliminate/reduce soil compaction within the pit. 


More information about our water management solutions?

Take a look at our leaflets, technical data sheets and installation guides:


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