Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS)

Schematic cartoon of the subsurface beneath a soakaway system

Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) are drainage solutions that provide an alternative to the direct channelling of surface water through networks of pipes and sewers to nearby watercourses.

By mimicking natural drainage regimes, SuDS aim to reduce surface water flooding, improve water quality and enhance the amenity and biodiversity value of the environment. SuDS achieve this by lowering flow rates, increasing water storage capacity and reducing the transport of pollution to the water environment.

The need for alternative drainage such as SuDS is likely to increase to meet environmental challenges such as climate change and population growth. Provision for SuDS and the national standards required for their design, construction, maintenance and operation is included in the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.

SuDS research at BGS

Red Kite House SuDS observatory

The BGS are currently investigating how infiltration SuDS schemes impact on groundwater using a permeable pavement car park as an observatory.

Trench What are SuDS and how do they work?

SuDS, their benefits and potential impacts explained

Subsidence Why are the properties of the ground important for SuDS and infiltration?

Will the ground accept water? What is the potential for ground stability or water quality problems associated with soaking water into the ground?

trench What information can BGS provide about the subsurface relevant to SuDS and infiltration?

BGS can provide subsurface data and information that may help make decisions about the suitability of the subsurface for the installation of SuDS.

Thames Gateway Project Infiltration SuDS map dataset

This dataset is suitable for those involved in the planning and design of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) and for those who approve SuDS planning applications within local authorities.

Thames Gateway Project BGS Infiltration SuDS map demo

The BGS has developed an BGS infiltration SuDS map that provides information on the suitability of the ground for infiltration SuDS. Explore the type of data included within the map via an online viewer.


Contact SuDs for further information