Sustainable Drainage Systems

Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) provide an alternative to directly channelling surface water through sewers or to nearby watercourses. 

Story Homes – sustainable drainage

​Our Developer Services team is working with housing developers across the North West to improve the health of the region’s rivers through the introduction of sustainable drainage systems which divert rainwater away from sewers by allowing it soak away naturally.

They replicate natural drainage by managing rainfall close to where it falls using infiltration or attenuation (reducing the flow). This helps to manage flood risk and water quality, and can also provide amenity benefits and habitats for plants and animals. 

The need for alternative drainage, such as SuDS, is needed to help meet environmental challenges such as climate change and population growth. 

Sustainable drainage systems

Water companies in England have implemented the sewerage sector guidance as a requirement of Ofwat's Adoption Code in April 2020. A major change in the new guidance is that, for the first time, guidance on the type of SuDS that will be adoptable is provided. 

SuDS are always site specific, and require bespoke design that take into account the underlying hydrology and functional purposes of the area being developed. Provision for SuDS and the national standards required for their design, construction, maintenance, operation and adoption is included in the new Design & Construction Guidance and CIRIA SuDS manual. To compliment the industry guidance we have also produced some supporting guidance for common adoptable SuDS features as well as landscaping and planting advice and some FAQ’s, our sample technical assessment sheets also clarify the documentation and design checks required when incorporating SuDS into an adoptable solution. Please see our SuDS technical library below.

If your development proposal does incorporate any SuDS component which interact with an adoptable system, contact should be made with our technical team at your earliest convenience, please complete the Section 104 pre-application form and include as much relevant detail as you can. These discussions can help prevent delays later in the pre development process.

We continue to work with the Local Authorities to promote the use of SuDS on all new developments, and options for SuDS must be explored in accordance with planning practice guidance.

Further information on SuDS is available on the susdrain website.

For more information on the adoption of SuDS, please contact us via or you can visit the Water UK website.

SuDs technical library

S104 SuDS Guidance Version Log (PDF 151KB)

SuDS Adoption Policy

S104 SuDS Guidance documents

Sample S104 technical appraisal forms

SuDS Maintainance Activities Guidance Document (PDF 376 KB)

SuDS Landscaping and Planting guidance (PDF 677 KB)

SuDS FAQs (PDF 123 KB)

SuDS adoption customer update October 2022 (PDF 1,065 KB)

Water UK SuDS Brochure (PDF 815 KB)

SuDS LPA Update June 2022 (PDF 266 KB)