[01 November 2021]

SuDSi hits the road

SuDSi hits the road: a live and interactive flood experience!
Kate Smith introduces our new SuDSi Interactor – due to stop off at COP26 on 2 November 2021!

It’s a great feeling when a project finally comes to life.  As part of our work at the Flood Innovation Centre, Hiatt Jackson and I started planning and designing a Sustainable Drainage Systems educational tool in late 2019, back when science communication happened in person at festivals, shows and engagement events.  The hiatus brought about by Covid-19 for all of these activities meant that their plans were mothballed for 12 months, but when the world started to open again earlier this year, Hiatt and Kate set about bringing their ideas to life.

The Sustainable Drainage Systems Interactor (known as SuDSi) was always imagined as being a sustainable, playful way of engaging audiences with some simple interventions that can make a big difference to flood resilience.  Made from recycled/re-used and recyclable or compostable materials, SuDSi came together with the help of the experts at InventX within the Aura Innovation Centre in Hessle: a real partnership between two different knowledge exchange hubs within the University, demonstrating innovation at its best.

Scheduled to make its debut during September’s FloodExpo at the NEC, Hiatt, Kate and the AIC team pulled out all the stops to assemble the different elements of the interactor.  Each ‘building’ and interchangeable plate was carefully hand-crafted to produce a meaningfully representative model of a full-scale SuDSi installation using colourful everyday objects.

Whilst SuDSi is designed to be playful, it’s also a genuine demonstration of the power that SuDS installations can have: we estimate that we collect 1 litre of water in our various sponges, soakaways and collection basins.  Most importantly, the water that drains into our big bucket of flood after it has ‘rained’ flows much more slowly when the hard surfaces are replaced with permeable and absorbent materials.

Public engagement with SuDSi at FloodExpo was really encouraging: it is rare to find a playful, hands-on activity at events like this, so the Flood Innovation Centre’s stand attracted lots of interest and interaction.  Hiatt and Kate have already been asked to bring SuDSi to the COP26 Universities Network stand during the World Leaders’ Summit on 2 Nov, as well as into schools and colleges, and they are looking forward to showcasing their creation at the forthcoming KE conference on campus.

For more information about SuDSi, or any aspect of SuDSi contact flic@hull.ac.uk