Somerset County Council

Project SPONGE 2020


SPONGE2020 is a project partnership between Dutch, British and Flemish local government and water authorities to co-create and implement innovative climate change adaptation 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, the coastal regions along the Southern North Sea and the Channel, at considerably lower costs.

Why we need these solutions
Cities and densely built up 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 because 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. 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.

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

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 co-operation 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, in The Netherlands, is the lead partner and is 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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