First appeared in


100 climate solutions from Danish Municipalities


Svendborg has created a unique climate adaptation project using the nearby forest to retain water, protecting the city from floods after cloudbursts.

The best solution is not always the most expensive: Svendborg’s cloudburst protection is living proof of this. During heavy rain, the municipality’s water management solution retains water from heavy rain and cloudbursts in an area of a forest nearby where the water can slowly permeate the ground. This system helps to prevent the stream running through the city from overflowing its banks and causing a flood.


This solution is an alternative to the very expensive underground or lowered concrete structures used in cities elsewhere. The climate mechanism can protect Svendborg city against a 1-in- 75-year rain event, equivalent to approx. 100 mm rainfall over four hours.

Svendborg new water protection system- almost like a natural pool.
Constructing the forest pool was 15 times cheaper than creating the concrete structures.

The municipality has taken the opportunity to not only improve flood protection, but also to create a new ecosystem in the forest where 23,000 m3 of rainwater can be stored. The municipality estimates that this form of climate protection saves approximately 725,000 EUR annually, which is 1.5 times the installation value. With cloudbursts expected to become heavier and more frequent in a future affected by climate change, the municipality’s project has already returned the investment.

How the Global Goals are addressed

Clean Water and Sanitation

The solution prevents the city from being flooded with rain and sewage, reducing the risk of contaminated drinking water and the spreading of diseases.

Sustainable Cities and Communities

The project makes the city of Svendborg more resistant to massive rainfall while protecting the people who live and run their business near the river and harbor.

Life Below Water

The pool has a built-in fishing passage enabling trouts to pass. This promotes a growing trout stock and thus general biodiversity, which is a special focus area in the municipality.