Rain beds in Munka Ljungby

Next stop: Munka Ljungby. The bus parked down at a regular family housing area. We set off for a small round tour with the leadership of two employees from Ängelholm municipality (Ängelholm, the city with the ice-cream factory, remember?) to check their proudly announced “babies”, the rain beds in Munka Ljungby.

There, they’ve just carried out a new way for the town to tackle the negative effects of climate change and manage their stormwater: capturing the runoff water by using vegetated islands on the street. Or let say basins instead: they work in a way that with the help of their “open curbs” and lowered level, they collect the rain water that flows on the road. Therefore, they reduce the volume of an enormous amount of downpour, which usually has to be handled by the conventional sewage system. The plants absorb the water and try to store or degrade pollutants that the runoff brings with itself.

It has a much more pleasing appearance than a curb-side concrete channel, doesn’t it?

The question arises, what happens to these poor islands when there is no extreme cloudburst?

We don’t need to worry about the plants in case of no heavy rainfall. Even though, they can handle extreme wet conditions, they are able to exist in extreme dry periods as well. Due to a good drainage the combination of Miscanthus, Cornus and Acer collect the rainwater, but also lead it away relatively quickly (when less precipitation- no water stays there at all). So the clue is that the plants has to be rather for dry habitats then for wet – even though they are in a rain bed.

On the top, the professional leaders added that it’s also beneficial investment because they function as a traffic control in the residential area. The green islands stand as an obstacle to slow down the vehicles in the neighborhood.

Despite of being a bit skeptical at the beginning, they convinced me quite well that this rain bed infrastructure can work there – at least theoretically, on that dry day… However, one thing was a bit unexpected for me. After showing us only one rain bed (but with a great pride), we abruptly headed back to the bus to rush to the next destination. But wait, I would have like to see at least one more rain bed for comparison! What if they just chose their prettiest example to boast with?! 😉 It remains a mystery…

Anyways, a great initiation to adapt to climate change. But the big trial is still waiting to come – I wonder if they fulfil their purposes at the first extreme cloudburst! Maybe I need to make an update after it happened… but now, quickly, back to the bus!

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