Urban rain is precious
However, we should treat it properly!

What is Life in Runoff?

Led by the Hegyvidék Municipality (XII district), in cooperation with Erzsébetváros (VII district), Pestszentlőrinc-Pestszentimre (XVIII district), the Municipality of Budapest and several other professional partners, the main objective of the LIFE in Runoff project, which will be partly funded by the EU between 2021 and 2025, is to support urban climate adaptation in the field of rainfall management by finding and strengthening synergies between green, blue and grey infrastructures.

By combining a nature-based approach with technological solutions, we are effectively reducing the harmful effects of sudden rainfall. Vulnerability assessments will be used to identify intervention points in the three Budapest partner districts, followed by demonstration elements to showcase urban stormwater management options to topic experts, decision-makers and city residents. Our aim is that by the end of the project, our target groups will see rainwater as an asset, but also are aware of and apply solutions to reduce and prevent the harmful consequences of sudden rainfall.

The project will draw on international and national good practices and the IPCC 2014 report. We are not only using technical solutions, but we are also trying to influence decision-makers to adopt new regulations and policies for effective urban rainfall management. The project also aims to present tools that can be used by other municipalities in line with the EU’s climate adaptation strategy, and to create a body of knowledge useful for the profession, while raising awareness among the public and decision-makers.

Project details

Location: Budapest, Hungary
Budget: 3,053,810 Euro (EU contribution 55%)
Duration: 2021. 1 July – 2025. 30 June.

Implementing organisations

Coordinating beneficiary

Budapest Capital XII. District Municipality of Hegyvidék

The Hegyvidék Municipality takes great care of the quality of the environment and is therefore one of the most liveable districts in Budapest. Some of its areas, especially the protected forest areas, serve not only the needs of the district but also those of Budapest as a whole. From the point of view of the air quality of the capital, the Hegyvidék is perhaps the most important part of the district, as it is the “lungs of Budapest”, thanks to its continuous forests and rich green spaces.

The management of runoff and local resources is a key factor in the evolution of local climatic conditions and adaptation to future changes. THE XII. Due to the mountainous nature of the district, it is particularly important to protect against sudden, so-called flash floods. The district considers the drainage of run-off water to be an important task. Although wastewater is drained through a closed sewer system, in many cases the ø 30, ø 40 sewers cannot drain surface water during heavy rainfall, and rainwater runs off the steep streets, flooding the lower lying areas. Conflicts and considerations over green spaces in the context of the local climate need to be addressed in particular in tandem with water management issues. To achieve the latter, preventing flash floods is a key task.

Associated beneficiaries

Budapest Capital VII. Erzsébetváros District Municipality

When Budapest Capital VII. The Erzsébetváros Municipality of the district, led by the Climate Protection Cabinet, joined the Life in Runoff project with the main aim of improving the quality of life of the district’s residents, as climate change means that in summer, in the densely built-up inner-city environment, temperatures can be 5-10 degrees higher than in a suburb.

As many good examples abroad have already shown, collecting sudden rainfall can reduce urban flash floods, and the collected rainwater can be recycled and is better than piped water for watering vegetation. If urban green spaces can be increased by catching and draining rainwater (even by planting plants that can be run on walls), the microclimate in the district will also improve. The project is in line with the Climate Change Cabinet’s objectives of creating pedestrian and cycle-friendly public spaces in the district, reducing air pollution, reducing energy waste, improving the quality of green spaces and promoting sustainable attitudes.

Budapest Capital XVIII. District Pestszentlőrinc-Pestszentimre Local Government

THE XVIII. district is among the largest in the capital, both in terms of area (fourth) and population (fifth). It is one of the outer districts of Budapest, which was created by the merger of two formerly separate municipalities, Pestszentlőrinc and Pestszentimre, and was annexed to the capital in 1950. The district is mainly residential, suburban in character (with a few important residential areas), as nearly 70% of the housing stock is detached houses. The population of the district has exceeded 100,000 in recent years.

The issue of stormwater management is a growing problem in the XVIII. district. Urbanisation has fundamentally changed the water management characteristics of a given area, as urban areas are increasingly covered by impermeable surfaces such as roofs, streets, pavements and parking lots. This contributes to the inability of the larger volumes of rainwater falling on these surfaces to infiltrate into the soil during heavy rainfall events, increasing the risk of flash floods.

In addition, some parts of the district have impermeable soil structure, high groundwater levels and low evapotranspiration capacity, which means that precipitation cannot silt up and run off sufficiently, increasing the potential for wetlands.

To address the issue of stormwater drainage and the local use of precipitation (in times of water scarcity and droughts), the Municipality welcomed the opportunity to participate in the EU-funded LIFE in Runoff – Climate Adaptation in Urban Water Management project. One of its aims is to prioritise flash floods and flooding in the future, due to the expected increasing impacts and high vulnerability of paved surfaces, and to develop and implement further adaptation strategies to reduce them, using various climate-adaptive, green infrastructure solutions.

Municipality of Budapest

The Municipality of Budapest is committed to the widest possible dissemination of climate-adaptive stormwater management. Key elements of this include collecting rainwater by the population, promoting the local use of rainwater, and mitigating storm damage caused by rainwater. The first step towards the implementation of these good practices at the metropolitan level is the preparation of a stormwater management strategy for Budapest, for which the results of the research carried out under the LIFE in Runoff project provide an essential basis. In addition to the technical side of adaptive stormwater management, the city-level strategy will also offer solutions to the current gaps in the legislative environment. The Municipality of Budapest participates in the project primarily by providing professional and communication support and data.


Association of Climate Friendly Municipalities

The Climate Friendly Communities Association is Hungary’s only association of municipalities with a thematic objective. The association, which now has more than 70 municipal members, was founded by a few enthusiastic mayors and experts to facilitate and help local and municipal authorities to adapt to the inevitable change and prepare for the challenges by sharing professional experience. In the LIFE IN RUNOFF project, the aim of the KTSZ is to promote the project and its objectives to the professional partnership, including municipalities, professional organisations and NGOs, both in Hungary and internationally. To this end, the NGO will organise stakeholder meetings and training sessions in the framework of the project.

Trinity Enviro Ltd

Trinity Enviro Ltd. organises its highly qualified team of consultants on a project basis, so it looks for the right team with the right expertise and experience for the client’s needs and the project in question.

The company has worked on 5 continents with well-known multinational companies such as OiLibya, Holcim, Ramboll and IOM, as well as with major international organisations such as GGGI and the UN, providing professional expertise to achieve the objectives of UNDP, GEF and FAO. It has worked with EU organisations such as the EIT Climate KIC, EIP Agri and the European Commission, and has also supported and coordinated the work of governmental organisations in Hungary, Croatia, Albania, Iraq and Nigeria on several occasions.

Always using the latest modelling techniques to support decision support. It provides advice to stakeholders and experts, but it is also available to those who are not professionals.

Trinity will carry out the following tasks in the project:

  • Modelling of urban stormwater runoff at district/local level, calibration of the models through sewer flow measurements and processing of the results, scaling of climate model results for Budapest, running model simulations taking into account the expected impacts of climate change, determination of optimal specific storage volumes, parameterisation of planned water retention interventions; and, based on water balance modelling, analysing the effectiveness of different blue-green solutions in different types of catchments and extending them to the Budapest area.
  • Developing the maximum potential for public-private partnerships to deliver blue-green solutions.
  • Conducting stakeholder analysis at national and local (district) level, providing technical support to stakeholder meetings.
  • The monitoring activities of the project, including the protocol, the development of baseline studies, and last but not least the water retention impact of the investments.