BRITAIN/-Susanne Charlesworth is a member of SUDS – Sustainable Drainage Applied Research Group, Coventry University. The opinions expressed are her own.-

The scenes of flooding in Cumbria are a shocking illustration of how Britain's ageing drainage infrastructure is failing.

The function of the majority of drainage structures is to remove water from inhabited areas as soon as possible via so-called receiving watercourses as conduits to carry excess water away. Unfortunately, cities and towns have grown beyond capacity, back-up floodplains are built upon, and water overflow has nowhere to go.

Householders are shown on television blaming the government and demanding that something must be done to prevent flooding.

In my opinion, part of the solution lies in sustainable drainage, which mimics nature by encouraging filtration via permeable and vegetated surfaces and detention via ponds, wetlands and slowly flowing water.