Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) of Stormwater Infrastructure Solutions in Johannesburg, South Africa

By Laurin Wuennenberg, Andrea Bassi, Georg Pallaske on April 20, 2021
  • Over the life cycle of the infrastructure, the hybrid solution and the full renaturalization of the stream are the most cost-effective investments. Grey stormwater infrastructure requires the highest upfront investment, while annual operations and maintenance costs are higher for the renaturalized stream.

  • The hybrid solution and renaturalized stream provide additional benefits, some of which the grey stormwater infrastructure, by design, cannot provide. Among these benefits are improved flood mitigation resulting in avoided costs of flood damages, additional employment from landscaping, and environmental benefits such as carbon sequestration and additional water supply. The avoided cost of flood damages is by far the largest additional benefit of the nature-based stormwater infrastructure.

  • Under different climate change scenarios, the case for nature-based infrastructure options becomes even clearer: the more volatile precipitation patterns become, the larger the benefits in comparison with a grey built solution. Indeed, a grey stormwater solution's capacity is limited by design and therefore less equipped to deal with extreme weather events. This also illustrates the importance of using climate parameters when assessing the costs and benefits of different infrastructure options.

The Paterson Park Precinct project is part of Johannesburg's Corridors of Freedom Initiative, which seeks to improve social cohesion within the urban environment while maximizing environmental and economic benefits. The project is also part of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Sustainable Cities Impact Program, which promotes holistic urban planning to maximize environmental and social benefits and avoid negative trade-offs. One of the components of the project included an upgrade of the stormwater infrastructure in the precinct area through a combination of grey and green infrastructure. This assessment aims to contribute to that discussion, particularly in light of the city's 2021 Climate Action Plan.