WSP: We help saving Sweden to not get flooded by 2100

The planning and consulting company WSP is one of the leading businesses for the building and construction industry with more than 40.000 employees in over 40 countries worldwide. WSP Sweden is participator within the CLARITY project. Since Sweden is surrounded and flown through by water, and since the water level is rising due to climate change, WSP tries to find solutions to deal with the flooding.


Anna Åkesson is the project manager in the H2020-project and works on different water related problems. The other eight members of the CLARITY team are mostly engineers. “We have many tasks – we analyze flood risk out of cloudbursts, we do hydraulic modelling, we make risk- and vulnerability assessments and we develop climate change adaptation strategies regarding floods as well as droughts”, Åkesson explains to MCS.

Parts of Sweden will be flooded in 100 years, if we don’t react now

WSP works together with many companies to analyze the data how Sweden is composed and what the main (water-)problems are. When it rains hard, the water cannot drain off. As climate change continues, WSP measured that there will be a flooding in many parts of Sweden, trying to help to mitigate the climate induced problems. “In the next 100 years the sea water level will increase substantially – we try to find solutions how to save Swedish cities like Stockholm or Jönköping where people live very close to the water.”

 Of course - the water looks precious. But flooding causes serious problems for Sweden to which we have to react now. (c) Shutterstock

Of course - the water looks precious. But flooding causes serious problems for Sweden to which we have to react now. (c) Shutterstock

Analyzing these issues within the framework of the CLARITY project, WSP plans to model the impact on urban flooding when increasing the green parts in the cities (i.e. allowing a larger proportion of the rainfall to infiltrate into the ground). The so called “Green Area Factor” improves cities’ prerequisites for adapting to climate change by promoting the green efficiency of the vegetation on the plots and the conservation of sufficient green structure. MyClimateService reported. “Another idea is to take away asphalt to let the water sink easier into the ground, for example using bricks on parking lots to absorb the water. A third solution would be to make higher buildings with plantations on the roofs. But all locations are individual, so we have to analyze in great detail each place and problem, which will still take some time until we can publish it. Generic solutions are difficult to identify, but within the CLARITY project we strive to develop methodologies that are not site-specific and which can make use of already existing data.”

Sharing data helps other cities

Heat waves, floods, storms and extreme rainfalls as well as droughts are some of the main consequences we can see from climate change. And they are everywhere in Europe. Within the CLARITY project WSP will spread its knowledge on our Marketplace to make life easier for the population and to help other companies and cities. Anna Åkesson says: “We will share our analyses of effects of sea-level rise, extreme water levels and rainfall in large infrastructure projects as a basis for community-based climate change adaptation. We hope that our data and particularly the methodologies will be transferable to others. We want to help identifying hazards and propose a solution to work on. Everything is a decision framework and you have to weigh which solution is best, but together we can find satisfying and useful ways to solve the problems climate change is creating.” [DM]


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