Somerset County Council

Project SPONGE 2020


Co-creation and implementation of innovative, participative climate adaptation solutions in densely built areas 

What is SPONGE2020?

SPONGE2020 is a project partnership between Dutch, British and Flemish local government and water authorities to co-create and implement innovative climate change adaption solutions such as Sustainable Urban Drainage (SuDS) with local stakeholders. SPONGE2020 paves the way for a wide rollout of these solutions to reduce the risks of and damage from urban flooding across the 2 Seas areas at considerably lower costs.

Why do we need these solutions?

Cities and densely built areas must adapt to more frequent intense rainfall and increased risks of urban flooding. Traditional methods for drainage and sewage infrastructure cannot solve this challenge due to financial and spatial constraints. Local (water) authorities must resort to alternative, innovative solutions that integrate smart adaptation features in public and private spaces and buildings across their territory. Local stakeholders including residents, urban planners, housing associations etc. need to become involved in the implementation of those adaptation measures in and on their own properties.

Somerset and SPONGE2020

Our aim on this project is adaptation for Climate Change in Somerset to demonstrate how SuDS and surface water management measures can be implemented to deliver long-term sustainable water management. The project presents a great opportunity to develop and demonstrate the design of attractive public open spaces and the development of social cohesion to improve the quality of life and create better communities, using green space to store runoff, creating attractive areas for social and recreational activities, etc.

What is Interreg 2 Seas?

SPONGE2020 receives European funding from the Interreg - 2 Mers Seas Seas ( This European program aims to enhance international cooperation for purposes that require international approach, such as the effects of climate change. A particular concern of the SPONGE2020 project is awareness of the issues and cooperation with all stakeholders, including residents, but also housing associations, architects, urban planners, local authorities, associations, etc.  Co-creation of potential solutions contributes to water awareness and jointly supported responsibility.

Who is working on SPONGE2020?

Cross Border Approach

Involving local stakeholders in co-creation and implementing innovative climate adaptation measures is new terrain for local (water) authorities.  The group consists of partners with experience in alternative adaptation techniques, stakeholder mobilisation and co-creation of public interventions. By putting these capacities together in cross-border cooperation we create the opportunity to develop, pilot and demonstrate participative climate adaptation actions to increase the adaptation capacity of our partner cities and other densely built territories.

The Regional Water authority of Schieland and Krimpenerwaard are the lead partner and are responsible for the co-ordination between the partners.

In Somerset, match funding for SPONGE is being contributed by the Somerset Rivers Authority  who have an interest in urban water management and SuDS through the Somerset Flood Action Plan.

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