Home » Impact » Future-proof and climate adaptive » Data-driven water buffers

Data-driven water buffers

Our climate is changing. We are experiencing more intense rainstorms and longer droughts. For our cities, that means a greater risk of flooding, our nature sees a decrease in biodiversity, and buildings suffer from subsidence or rot of wooden foundation piles. This requires smart urban water management. ABT advises governments, developers and designers in making plans for climate-resilient buildings and areas. Data-driven water buffers contribute to water safety, combat desiccation and enhance the quality of life in cities.

Managing flood risks

Sewer systems in many inner-city areas were not designed to handle today’s heavy rainfall. By integrating water storage into buildings, we can collect, infiltrate or reuse rainwater. Outdoor spaces can be designed in such a way that they may be temporarily flooded. Green roofs and open pavement will reduce runoff.

Existing water buffers will discharge up to 100% of rainwater relatively quickly to sewers or open water. In many cases, this is unnecessary and ineffective. If we equip water buffers with smart measurement and control technology, we can use data to determine whether water is retained, reused or infiltrated into the soil, depending on the weather forecast and groundwater level.

AI-controlled water buffers

In data-driven water buffers, the use of captured water will be determined based on a large amount of data. This data is provided by proprietary system sensors and by external data sources. Sensors of the system include moisture sensors in the soil. External data sources include the weather forecast or the building’s system providing information about the expected number of users.

By improving the algorithm periodically, a water buffer will be more and more efficient over time. With the use of artificial intelligence, buffers could eventually even be self-learning. AI-controlled water buffers throughout the city, will form a network of water buffers. This micro-grid increases effectiveness over solitary, conventional water buffers.

A data-driven buffer need not be larger than an existing one. It does provide a much higher sustainability contribution with the same water safety.

Rooftop and underground buffering

The Natural Pavilion at Floriade Expo 2022, has water buffering on the (green) roofs and also a smart water buffer under the building. Large, underground pipes collect the water and store it for irrigation of the green roofs during droughts. The buffer is kept as full as possible. However, when large amounts of rain are forecast and the buffer is too full to accommodate the predicted amount, the system will be emptied slowly – before the rain falls. Water can then infiltrate into the soil in a timely manner through a special wadi.