Fighting flooding with hydrological communities

Project Brusseau invites residents, in collaboration with researchers and players on the ground, to develop a diagnosis and offer potential solutions to reduce risks of flooding in Brussels.

The project is based on three hydrological and social observations. First, flooding in Brussels is essentially due to significant soil sealing and the overflowing of the sewer system into which rainwater drains. Second, flooding mostly affects neighbourhoods located at the bottom of valleys, where less privileged populations live. Third, urban planning projects leave little space for rainwater collection and drainage, while anti-flooding programmes do not give much consideration to residents even though they are the most affected.

Project Brusseau aims to respond to this situation by promoting solidarity between residents of the same sub-drainage basin by grouping them into hydrological communities. Its goal is to develop, at the scale of these communities, an accurate diagnosis of flooding issues by calling upon measurements made by hydrological instruments as well as daily observations made by residents. Based on this, Brusseau attempts to collectively develop urban planning projects that can reduce flooding. These projects can be integrated inside city blocks or in the public space; they facilitate the infiltration, storage and drainage of rainwater into the hydrological network rather than into sewer systems.

In this way, project Brusseau wishes to contribute to the emergence of new attitudes towards water, whether on an institutional level or from residents themselves, encouraging them to be more mindful of water and establishing the proper conditions for a non-damaging cohabitation between the people of Brussels and their water.

Action Co-Create 2017-2020


ULB partners

Chloé Deligne,
LIEU, Laboratoire interdisciplinaire en études urbaines
HABITER, Faculty of Architecture

Other partners

EGEB (États Généraux de l’Eau à Bruxelles ) 
HYDR (Vakgroep Hydrologie en Waterbouwkunde, VUB)

Created on July 23, 2019