Greater Vancouver Region Develops Design Guidelines for Infiltration Swale Systems


Goal is to reduce rainwater runoff volume by capturing rain where it falls

Infiltration swale

To complement the Water Balance Model for Brtish Columbia, the Stormwater Inter-Agency Group (SILG) – a technical committee of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) – commissioned a research project to create Stormwater Source Control Design Guidelines 2005 – Final Report.This work is based on the adaptation of design standards from areas of Europe, Australia, New Zealand and North America with similar climatic and soil conditions. For the complete story, please click here.

“The objective of this project was to reduce information barriers that previously stood in the way of effective implementation of rainwater source controls in the Georgia Basin region of British Columbia. Our focus was on the technical details of practices in landscape areas that treat rainwater through plant materials and soils by infiltration, retention, detention and evapotranspiration', according to Ed von Euw, Senior Engineer with GVRD Regional Utility Planning. 


Infiltration Swale Systems

In British Columbia, the technical language is being simplified so that there will be a clearer public and practitioner understanding of the suite of source control options for capturing rain where it falls. Six simplified categories have been defined, of which one category is Infiltration Swale Systems. Key points to note with respect to Infiltration Swale Systems  include:

  • The Infiltration Swale System combines aspects of grass swales and infiltration trenches.
  • The surface component of an infiltration swale is a shallow grassed channel, accepting flows from small areas of adjacent paved surfaces.
  • The swale is designed to infiltrate the flow slowly through a soil bed to an underlying drain rock reservoir.

p>Key features of the research information have been displayed in a set of poster presentations. To download the poster for Infiltration Swale Systems, please click here.

The combination of the Water Balance Model and the Design Guidelines enable engineers, planners, landscape architects, architects, developers and builders to select, assess and implement landscape-based solutions that make sense.


Posted August 2006