SUDS, LID, BMPs, WSUD and more - The evolution and application of terminology surrounding urban drainage

Tim D. Fletcher, William Shuster, William F. Hunt, Richard Ashley, David Butler, Scott Arthur, Sam Trowsdale, Sylvie Barraud, Annette Semadeni-Davies, Jean Luc Bertrand-Krajewski, Peter Steen Mikkelsen, Gilles Rivard, Mathias Uhl, Danielle Dagenais, Maria Viklander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1155 Citations (Scopus)


The management of urban stormwater has become increasingly complex over recent decades. Consequently, terminology describing the principles and practices of urban drainage has become increasingly diverse, increasing the potential for confusion and miscommunication. This paper documents the history, scope, application and underlying principles of terms used in urban drainage and provides recommendations for clear communication of these principles. Terminology evolves locally and thus has an important role in establishing awareness and credibility of new approaches and contains nuanced understandings of the principles that are applied locally to address specific problems. Despite the understandable desire to have a 'uniform set of terminology', such a concept is flawed, ignoring the fact that terms reflect locally shared understanding. The local development of terminology thus has an important role in advancing the profession, but authors should facilitate communication between disciplines and between regions of the world, by being explicit and accurate in their application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-20
Number of pages17
JournalUrban Water Journal
Issue number7
Early online date23 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • alternative techniques
  • best management practices (BMPs)
  • green infrastructure (GI)
  • integrated urban water management (IUWM)
  • Joint Committee on Urban Drainage (JCUD)
  • low impact development (LID)
  • low impact urban design and development (LIUDD)
  • source control
  • stormwater control measures (SCMs)
  • sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS)
  • terminology
  • urban drainage
  • urban stormwater management
  • water sensitive urban design (WSUD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology


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