Sponge that can soak up even the mess of a typhoon

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When Typhoon In-fa pelted Shanghai with heavy rain in July, Xu Jingxin was concerned about the “sponge park” he had been working on for the past two years. Located in the Lingang area of ​​the city, the park takes its name from a wetland consisting of ponds, gardens and marshes and is designed to retain water in storms and prevent flooding.

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Mr Jingxin, an engineer at China Construction Technology Consulting and in charge of building the sponge facilities, was concerned about whether he had helped design one that could withstand the test of intense rainfall brought on by the typhoon.

“I went to check on the spot when Typhoon In-fa passed, and to my great relief there were very few pools of water on the ground,” says Mr. Jingxin. “The system worked well.”


The park was built using permeable materials that can absorb and channel water to underground storage units.

Flooding is one of the most serious water-related issues in Chinese cities due to rapid urbanization and the disappearance of natural wetlands. Frequent extreme weather events due to climate change have exacerbated the problem in recent years.

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To tackle the problem, the State Council launched the Sponge City Pilot Project in 2015, which aimed to refinish and connect 80 percent of urban areas with sponge facilities by 2030 so that at least 70 percent of rainwater could be absorbed and reused . Thirty metropolitan cities are part of the project.

Rui Dongliang, project manager at Shanghai Lingang New City Investment and Construction, has participated in the construction of the 133-acre park since it began in 2019. Lingang was a model for the Sponge City project in Shanghai, and the park was an important part. Out of this, he says.

Apart from retaining rainwater from runoff, another objective is to clean and purify water through eco-engineering. The Sponge Park was created and divided into four parts by two rivers, the north-eastern section being 24 acres of wetland with several ponds and floating islands that form a demonstration area for the sponge system.

Mr Jingxin says the water poured into the park from the river first goes through a skimmer to remove surface debris and then turns into sediment in a pond. The water then flows through several levels of filtration ponds with aquatic plants such as Vallisneria and water lilies.

“The system can purify 15,000 cubic meters of water per day, as water quality increases from grade V to grade III when it flows back into the river,” Xu says, adding that the system is also linked to rainwater drainage. . It can treat rainwater from the surrounding areas.

Several floating islands of aquatic plants were added to clean the water in the river and serve as a natural habitat for birds. Diversions were added to the once straight waterway to increase the length of the shoreline so that the river could be slow and clear of floating islands. The silt and silt excavated from the river bed was then used to create landscapes such as small hills along the river.

The park, which opened to the public in August, is becoming a popular destination with residents of the surrounding areas due to its unique layout.

First Chinadaily.com.cn. Published on

Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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