Green roofs and stormwater runoff quality in the urban landscape in South Africa


  • Arisha Sucheran Engineering Unit, eThekwini Municipality, Durban, South Africa
  • Reshma Sucheran Faculty of Management Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa



green roofs, water quality, stormwater, urban areas, environment


A number of sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS), such as green roofs, are being developed and implemented in cities around the world to help reduce stormwater runoff and improve stormwater runoff quality. This study compares the water quality of green roofs with that of conventional roofs in the eThekwini region, South Africa. Samples of stormwater runoff from the different green roof systems on the eThekwini Green Roof Pilot Project were collected to test their level of contaminants and pollutants. The tests focused on all physical, aesthetic, chemical, and microbiological determinants pertaining to stormwater runoff. For all tests, the level of contaminants and pollutants were measured against the South African Water Quality Guidelines Volume 7 for Aquatic Ecosystems. The data revealed significant variations in pollutant concentrations between the green roofs and the conventional roof. Moreover, runoff water quality varied across the various roof types, which may indicate that the substrate composition has the greatest impact on green roof performance regarding rainwater quality. Overall, the results suggest that these green roof systems do not have the ability to filter pollutants out of stormwater runoff, but rather increase their levels of concentration. 

Author Biography

Arisha Sucheran, Engineering Unit, eThekwini Municipality, Durban, South Africa

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