Sponge city program (Scp) and urban flood management (ufm)—the case of guiyang, sw china

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

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2784
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • Catchment flood management plan (CFMP)
  • Guiyang
  • Natural flood management (NFM)
  • Sponge City Program (SCP)
  • Urban flood management (UFM)
  • Urban flood resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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