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ACO Water Management UK says its free-to-use QuAD software can help road authorities and contractors design more efficient drainage channels and allow easier maintenance afterwards.

Users of the QuAD Hydraulic Design 2.0 software can test a proposed maintenance regime for a channel design based upon the anticipated sediment and silt build up. Combining the latest water management systems with carefully planned maintenance is the most cost-effective way to eliminate potholes and ensure road safety, according to the company.

QuAD is designed to support designers in the creation of catchment areas. Supplementary catchment areas can easily be added upstream and downstream of any previously designed channel run. Optimising the specific channel runs can be done with the optimiser feature selecting the smallest product suitable. Excavation and concrete requirements are also provided.

Attenuation required for the project can be calculated and compared with the storage available in the channel design. Attenuation volume is presented along with suitable options for storage. Output can be generated for all or parts of the project and can be generated in pdf or CSV formats.

“It’s difficult to overstate the damage that standing water can cause, with potholes appearing in a matter of weeks in some circumstances,” said Terry Wilkinson, highways application engineer at ACO Water Management in the UK and which is part of the global ACO Severin Ahlmann Group based near Kiel in Germany. “This is where it is critical to tackle the issue at source, by minimising surface water rather than simply treating the symptom. As we have seen, the long-term costs associated with filling in potholes is far greater than the investment required to introduce effective water management solutions.”

It is a two-stage process, he explained. “On the one hand, you have to make sure the right solutions are put in place. Collection systems, such as ACO’s RoadDrain, are there to remove water from the road surface and should form a central part of planning. Equally important is the ongoing maintenance of drainage solutions, as this is integral to their long-term efficacy.

Sustainable drainage

Best practice for water drainage involves the concept of a sustainable drainage system, often abbreviated to SuDS. The is aim to control surface rainfall run-off by controlling the rate and volume of runoff from site. This relieves pressure on sewerage systems and mimicks natural drainage as closely as possible. Used effectively, SuDS can help local authorities, planners, architects and developers deliver greener infrastructure. ACO believes that the best SuDS will be cost effective to operate and provide efficient drainage throughout their life.

The SuDS philosophy is based upon four key pillars; water quality, water quantity, amenity and biodiversity.

Water quality is about controlling the quantity of runoff to support the management of flood risk, and maintain and protect the natural water cycle. Water quality is about managing the quality of the runoff to prevent pollution. Amenity refers to creating and sustaining better places for people. Biodiversity is about creating and sustaining better places for wildlife. ACO has a wildlife range of products that help protect wildlife habitats around developments.

ACO has developed a model to reflect adoption of SuDS thinking – collect, clean, hold and release. This framework embraces the entire surface water management cycle, from the point where rain lands right through to where it re-enters the natural water environment.


Ensuring surface water runoff is managed at source is an important part of SuDS and ACO has a wide range of channels designed to collect and convey water close to the surface efficiently. Consideration of ground conditions, catchment design, rainfall intensity, downstream hydraulic conditions, loading and visual setting are key to correct product selection.

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