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Black & Veatch wins major international award for flood alleviation in Hong Kong

A stormwater drainage project beneath a famous racecourse in Hong Kong has won an International Water Association’s (IWA) Project Innovation Award.

Black & Veatch and the Drainage Services Department of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (DSD) received the 2012 Planning Award for IWA’s East Asia region. The winning project, the Happy Valley Underground Stormwater Storage Scheme (HVUSSS), is an example of how cities around the world are rethinking the way they plan and manage intense rainfall in crowded urban spaces.

“Climate uncertainties and urban densities are demanding a rethink of flood mitigation and we no longer just simply throw wider and deeper drains at the problem,” said Alan Man, Vice President and Managing Director of Black & Veatch’s North Asia Pacific water business. “We can be a lot smarter about this complex challenge. The beauty of the Happy Valley scheme is that it will work with nature and use real time, intelligent data to adjust the volume of stormwater within the storage tank.”

During historical heavy rainstorm events in August 2000, April 2006 and June 2008, severe flooding occurred in Happy Valley and its adjacent areas. With the new 60,000m3 capacity storage tank, stormwater will be temporarily stored in the storage tank during peak times of a rainstorm.

At the heart of the innovation is a movable crest weir system together with Supervisory and Data Acquisition (SCADA) real-time monitoring of water and tidal levels. With intelligent data feedback, the volume of water within the storage tank can be monitored and adjusted to prevent either pre-mature or late overspill of stormwater.

The Director of Drainage Services, Mr. Chan Chi-chiu said, “We put our best minds to work and have arrived at a solution that adopts the latest technology, takes into consideration future climatic change and reduces construction time, as well as cost. When planning, we were very aware of how this project could affect the community too, so we have paid close attention to accommodating their needs and minimizing the environmental and social impacts.”

Lying below the famous Happy Valley Racecourse and sports facilities, DSD is consulting closely with the local sports clubs and community throughout the process. The planned works include the reprovisioning of sports pitches with a state-of-the-art turfing surface as well as developing other community amenities aimed to enhance quality of living.

The project is one of the first examples in Hong Kong where innovative integrated one-dimensional, two-dimensional and three-dimensional hydraulic modeling techniques as well as three dimensional Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modeling have been employed together. Long term options for sustainably reusing the stormwater are also been explored.

The HK$1 billion project commenced construction in September 2011. The first phase is scheduled for completion by early 2015, the second by early 2018.

The award was presented to the team at an IWA Gala Dinner in Singapore on 3 July 2012. As a regional winner, the award is also put forward to win the Global Grand Prize, which will be announced at the 2012 IWA World Water Congress in Busan, Korea in September 2012. 


Editor’s Notes:


  • The objective of the HVUSSS is to provide off-line flood retention in the Happy Valley catchment during a 1-in-50 year rainstorm event. Major components include an inlet structure, twin cells diversion box culvert with overflow side weir system, an underground storage tank of 60,000m3 and a pump house with a pumping rate of 5,400 m3/hr. During heavy rainstorms, excess runoff in the diversion box culvert will enter the storage tank via the overflow weir system. After rainstorms the storage tank will be emptied to prepare for upcoming rainstorm events.
  • Black & Veatch’s team in Hong Kong was a regional award winner at the biannual IWA Project Innovation Awards in 2010 and was a global grand prize winner in 2006. Black & Veatch also named the Hong Kong office as its Global Centre of Excellence for Buried Water Infrastructure in 2010 when celebrating its 80 years in Hong Kong serving Hong Kong’s water departments.
  • Black & Veatch designed and helped DSD deliver Hong Kong’s first major underground flood storage scheme, the Tai Hang Tung Underground Flood Alleviation Scheme. The successful project received the Innovation Award for the Construction Industry from the Hong Kong Institute of Engineers in 2002.
  • More information on the 2012 IWA Project Innovation Awards can be found here. 

About Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch is an employee-owned, global leader in building Critical Human Infrastructure™ in Energy, Water, Telecommunications and Government Services. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people in over 100 countries through consulting, engineering, construction, operations and program management. Our revenues in 2011 were US$2.6 billion. Follow us on and in social media. 

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