Implementation of Sponge City Concepts in China (KEYS)

Smart Technologies for Sustainable Water Management in Urban Areas as Key Contribution to Sponge Cities

In cooperation with partners from China, the joined project KEYS aims to promote the demand-based implementation of stormwater management measures (Sponge City) in China. Model regions are the cities of Shenzen and Beijing, both of which have been designated as ‘pilot Sponge Cities’. The project was developed in close cooperation with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).

The project is managed by the Institute for Sanitary Engineering and Waste Management of the Leibniz University Hanover (ISAH) and is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for a period of 3 years.

The KEYS project pursues the following scientific and technical goals:

  1. Investigation of advanced and “smart” components of stormwater management (SMART SPONGE CITIES) allowing for the protection against flooding and the retention of pollution loads
  2. Implementation of eco-sensitive and particularly energy-efficient wastewater treatment methods featuring new approaches like deammonification, aerobic granular sludge technology and membrane processes
  3. Development of integrated approaches and methods facilitating the identification and reduction of pollution loads from urban catchments into surface waters.

The activities in Beijing are coordinated by the ISAH, those in Shenzhen by KWB.

From a scientific point of view, KWB’s activities comprise the development of enhanced assessment approaches for stormwater management measures and surface water protection. In addition, the combination of German and Chinese wastewater treatment technologies (membrane processes, nematode reactor) will be investigated at particular pilot plants. The transfer of established approaches to the climatic, technical and social features in the twin cities is a specific challenge. The close cooperation with the Chinese research partners in this particular field is expected to yield a considerable knowledge growth for all parties invlolved.



Selected publications produced in the KEYS project are available here.

Project partners


Press and Media

  • Städte mit Wasser lebenswerter gestalten

    Das chinesische „Sponge-City“-Konzept deckt den gesamten Umgang mit Wasser in Ballungsräumen ab. Dabei geht es insbesondere um eine bessere Vorsorge gegen Überflutungen bei Starkregen, die Verbesserung der Qualität der städtischen Gewässer und die Bereitstellung von Verdunstungsflächen zur Abkühlung.