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Sponge City Program (SCP) and Urban Flood Management (UFM)—The Case of Guiyang, SW China

Qi, Yunfei; Shun Chan, Faith Ka; Griffiths, James; Feng, Meili; Sang, Yanfang; O’Donnell, Emily; Hutchins, Michael; Thadani, Dimple R.; Li, Gang; Shao, Mengqi; Xie, Linjun; Liu, Sitong; Zhang, Chunguang; Li, Xinan; Liu, Lingyun; Zhong, Ming

Sponge City Program (SCP) and Urban Flood Management (UFM)—The Case of Guiyang, SW China Thumbnail


Yunfei Qi

Faith Ka Shun Chan

James Griffiths

Meili Feng

Yanfang Sang

Michael Hutchins

Dimple R. Thadani

Gang Li

Mengqi Shao

Linjun Xie

Sitong Liu

Chunguang Zhang

Xinan Li

Lingyun Liu

Ming Zhong


Flood management is a complex issue in Chinese cities that exhibit high populations and have undergone rapid urbanization. Urban flood management (UFM) approaches can be used to mitigate urban flood risk. To address urban issues of poor water quality and urban surface flooding, the Sponge City Program (SCP) was initiated in 2013 in China. The SCP aims to provide an opportunity for Chinese cities to improve their current UFM practices. This study looks at Guiyang (a pilot sponge city located in SW China) as a case study to identify the challenges and opportunities of UFM in China. Guiyang is a valley city surrounded by a hilly landscape. Using interview records and flood data, we illustrate that the primary type of flood in Guiyang is fluvial rather than surface water flooding. In Guiyang, the current function and targets of the SCP have yet to engage with the catchment level flood management, instead mainly focusing on the site-specific context (i.e., community level). Catchment flood management planning (CFMP) and natural flood management (NFM) both address this problem and may be a more suitable approach to manage flood discharge from the upper and middle catchments in Guiyang. In addition, it is suggested that a mixed option combining “hard” infrastructure (e.g., reservoirs and floodwalls) with “soft” flood management measures (e.g., improving people awareness and participation) may improve urban flood resilience in Chinese cities.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 28, 2021
Online Publication Date Oct 8, 2021
Publication Date Oct 8, 2021
Deposit Date Oct 31, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 1, 2022
Journal Water
Electronic ISSN 2073-4441
Publisher MDPI AG
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 19
Article Number 2784
Keywords Water Science and Technology; Aquatic Science; Geography, Planning and Development; Biochemistry
Public URL
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