Where does the rain go?

A conference on urban rainwater management with inspiration from

Copenhagen, Paris, London, and Brussels

We know where the rain comes from, but do we know where it goes to? Rain is a very valuable resource without which we wouldn’t be able to survive, but it’s not always easy to handle larger volumes falling from the sky at once. These larger volumes cause floods and sewage overflows damaging homes and infrastructure and polluting our waterways. And climate change will make it even worse in the future with more intense rainfall. Brussels and other Belgian cities are trying to prevent floods, sewage overflows and improve the water quality of their waterways but we’re not the only ones: some european cities are facing the same problems and can even be sources of inspiration.

That’s why Canal It Up and BRAL invited speakers from Copenhagen, Paris, and London to come and present their ambitious projects currently under construction. Copenhagen has its Cloudburst Management Plan, Paris is working very hard to make the Seine swimmable by 2024 and London is building a Super Sewer underneath the city. And also Brussels will present its past, present and future projects to save the city from floods, prevent sewer overflows and improve water quality.

We welcome all professionals and engaged citizens working on or interested by the theme. The conference is organized during the public inquiry of the Brussels Water Management plan 2022-2027. We hope the conference can feed the public inquiry with ideas and examples of what is possible abroad.




  • Lykke Leonardsen from the city of Copenhagen, head director of Resilient and Sustainable City Solutions.
  • Copenhagen is implementing its Cloudburst Management Plan, a 1.5 billion investment with 300 projects across the city, including the principle of integrated water management, to better manage rainwater and prevent floods and sewer overflows.


  • Samantha Freelove, Legacy & Sustainability Manager at Thames Tideway Tunnel, the company in charge of building the Super Sewer.
  •  London is currently building its Super Sewer to stop sewer overflows to the Thames, a very large and ambitious project to be completed by 2025.


  • Anita Ravlic from the city of Paris, Service Technique de l’Eau et de l’Assainissement, in charge of communication, international relations and the sewer museum.
  • Paris wants to make the Seine swimmable by 2024 to host several Olympic swimming disciplines in the river and therefore the water must be clean. That is why Paris, after many previous projects, is currently building its last stormwater basin called the Austerlitz project to end sewer overflows to the Seine by 2023.


  • Michael Antoine of Brussels Environment, the regional authority in charge of the general coordination of water policy, will outline the Brussels context of watercourses and water actors. He will present the situation in numbers and explain how Brussels wants to approach things differently with integrated rainwater management.

  • Olivier Pireyn of Vivaqua, the Brussels inter-municipal company that supplies the inhabitants of Brussels with drinking water, drains the waste water and manages some stormwater basins and collectors, will explain how the adjustments to the sewage overflows will ensure that the overflow events will decrease.

  • Boud Verbeiren of Hydria, the organization responsible for the water treatment plants, the main stormwater basins and a number of collectors, explains how the monitoring network will be expanded and how dynamic management of the stormwater basins is part of the solution.

Practical information

Where: Tour & Taxis, Gebouw Leefmilieu Brussel, Avenue du Port 86C/3000, 1000 Brussels
When: Monday 6 March 2023, doors open at 1.30 pm and the conference starts at 2 pm, there will be a reception from 5 pm till 6 pm
Language: The conference will be in English, French and Dutch. Translators and earphones will be present so that everybody can follow the conference in their language of preference (EN/FR/NL).

Subscribe to the conference by filling in this form : This conference took place on 6 March 2023