This study evaluated approaches to developing a more connected urban water cycle. North West Cambridge is a new greenfield development consisting of 3,000 new homes and a 100,000m2 research and office space on the edge of Cambridge, UK. Since 2008, AECOM coordinated with the University of Cambridge to bring forward this groundbreaking development from concept design to achieving planning permission and post planning consents. Growth in this part of the UK is likely to put pressure on scarce water resources with potential impacts on wider ecosystems.
When it does rain, the increase in impermeable surfaces associated with new development on what was a greenfield site increased the rate of run‐off, which increases the risk of downstream flooding an urban pollution. Climate change, including longer periods of drought in the summer and stronger, more unpredictable storms in the winter is likely to exacerbate these challenges.
There are two key lessons learnt from the opportunity to undertake a mass water balance for North West Cambridge:
- Developing a more integrated approach to urban water management can help to reconnect the water cycle, reducing potable water demand as well as reducing flood risk and pressure on waste water networks.
- Developing a site‐wide approach delivered the economies of scale required to make non‐potable supply viable.
This case study is one of a series produced by members of ARISE, the UNISDR Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies.