21st Century Drainage Solutions: Source Control Stormwater Management

An alternative, source control stormwater management approach which maximises 3BL benefits has been identified to guide rural development.

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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

SOMe Engineering for IMS Infrastructure Management Services.

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $500k - $1m

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 10 - 50

Organization type

  • For-profit

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water
  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • Australia

Headquarters location: City


Location(s) of impact

Australia: Perth, Geelong Hong Kong



Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Conventional drainage engineering (CDE) guides rural development despite its adverse social and environmental impact. CDE’s problem is its pre-dominant focus to convey stormwater away from a site. This significantly alters the natural water cycle resulting in harm to ecosystem. Further, stormwater conveyance typically occurs through unsightly open drains or costly, elaborate underground infrastructure, both of which still cause stormwater pollution to the environment and do not improve the amenity of the development.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

The challenge in developing rural environments is re-introducing the natural water cycle. One such approach is the application of Source Control Stormwater Management (SCSM) which replicates the natural water cycle within these impervious environments by avoiding the conveyance of stormwater as much as possible. SCSM is supported by the Continuous Aggregate Inlet (CAI) technology developed by Infrastructure Management Services (IMS). Both the philosophy of SCSM and the supporting technology of CAI maximises social, environmental and economic impacts for developments. Socially, it provides equitable flood protection and it improves the amenity of developments (by eliminating the need for unsightly and polluted open drains). Environmentally, it mimics the natural water cycle and provides ecological enhancement through ~100% reduction in stormwater contaminants. Economically, these approaches are ~40% cheaper than conventional approaches making it viable for resource-constrained projects.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

The use of SCSM and CAI has led to 3BL benefits as indicated in the previous paragraph. A specific example is when a large industrial site was proposed adjacent to the sensitive Greater Brixton Street Wetlands (GBSW) in Australia, which is known to have more carnivorous plant species than the whole of Europe. The original CDE solution proposed conveyance of the industrial stormwater to the GBSW, resulting in a large piece of the wetlands being cleared to serve CDE. The clearing would have result in an irreversible loss in biodiversity and ecology in GBSW. The use of SCSM on the industrial site minimised the conveyance of stormwater so the GBSW did not have to serve a drainage function. Additionally, the ability of the CAI to treat the industrial stormwater was a benefit to the ecosystem. While the example provided is from a developed nation, the challenge in delivering 3BL stormwater solutions to cater for urbanisation is applicable to both developed and developing nations.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

4. Earned Income - 100%.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

CDE has guided drainage for most drainage development across the world, despite not maximising 3BL benefits. The philosophy behind SCSM is to manage the stormwater as close to source as practically possible, in contrast to CDE, thereby making it unique. SCSM and CAI have proven benefits in live projects across Australia and Hong Kong. Further, while the application of the CAI is new, it is backed by decades of scientific research into permeable stormwater management and treatment systems.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

The process of developing this unique methodology look place over decades of extensive environmental engineering experience across land development, infrastructure, utilities and natural resources projects for both the public and private sector in Australia and Hong Kong. So there was no one particular Aha! moment. The momentum really started to build once we provided a SCSM drainage solution for one of Western Australia's largest infrastructure projects that provided flood protection, improved the amenity of the development, mimicked the natural water cycle and improved stormwater quality (reduced pollution). We had marked all of these benefits, before realizing we had also saved our client ~$60 million AUD in the process using SCSM as compared to CDE. That really kickstarted our journey of enabling sustainable development by providing 3BL solutions.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Upon recommendation from others

1 comment

Join the conversation:


Idea is promising. I have few questions:1. Where do you collect the waste, 2. what type of waste you are able to segregate, 3. Cost may be an issue, 4. How frequently you have to clean