Integrated Stormwater Management Toolbox

The ISWM toolbox introduces the most commonly used approaches and concrete tools for urban stormwater management.

Quick guide

The toolbox is targeted at landscape architects, urban planners, designers and those interested in or working with the design, planning or management of urban water.

The approach used assumes the necessary integration of storm water management into urban planning and development processes at all levels. Stormwater is a resource rather than a problem, and can support positive ecological and social urban dynamics.

The tools introduced in the toolbox are organized in the table based on two systems. Firstly, they are classified according to the level of detail and the context in which they are applied. These classes are indicated by four different colours of the toolsheets. Secondly, all the tools are organized under the Three Points Approach covering all the actions needed in different planning levels to create a multifunctional and resilient water system.

We suggest that at least one method or approach should be applied from each point to cover all the steps of integrated stormwater management.


Integrated stormwater management requires a new type of collaboration and a change of practices beginning from the strategy and master-planning phase all the way to the realization phase.

The purpose of urban water management has become broader over time. While flood mitigation remains important, there are many other issues that water management influences. The tools for water management have changed from pipe-based drainage systems to multifunctional systems to meet diverse objectives, including social and ecological aspects.

In Europe, most stormwater management practices have traditionally only considered the design of separate and combined sewer systems. Considering urban flood risk management, the systems have been designed to receive the flood return period over a range of 5-10 years. However, it has lately been realized that this is insufficient. One of the solutions offered is to create a system in which the above-ground system has a stronger role – and in which the above-ground and below-ground systems are integrated. A combined use of multiple stormwater management solutions is not just possible, but also advisable to increase resilience to extreme weather and climate events. This is possible with an integrated stormwater management approach presented in the toolbox.


Learn more about the case – ask and comment in the space below