9 Ways to Deliver Efficient Drainage System Designs

2 March 2023Architecture and Engineering, autodesk, Civil 3D, Digital Transformation, Sustainability, Water/Wastewaterdrainage, InfoDrainage, water modeling



Released in 2020, InfoDrainage is stormwater drainage design software made to meet increasing demands for sustainability, compliance and accelerated approvals in surface water and drainage system design. As explained by Autodesk in a 2022 blog article, developers, planners, landscape architects, engineers, consultants and regulatory agencies have begun using InfoDrainage in place of Microdrainage, an Autodesk legacy product first offered in 1988.

InfoDrainage; image: Autodesk.com

Following are 9 ways to deliver efficient drainage systems using InfoDrainage for more accurate designs and models.

  1. Representation of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS).

Actual physical dimensions of SuDS structures are spatially represented with advanced parameters in InfoDrainage. You can model the depth, porosity and hydraulic conductivity of the filtration layers that reside under a SuDS structure. Gravel and sand under bioretention features can be represented more accurately using InfoDrainage.

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  1. SuDS inlet and outlet structures.

InfoDrainage offers spatial awareness of SuDS structures, inlet pipes and outlet structures. This enables more accurate clash detection analyses considering site constraints (utilities, fences, trees). Potential clashes can be clearly identified while SuDS structures are being sized early in the hydraulic model.

To learn about designing and auditing drainage systems. tune in to the Applied Software, Graitec Group webinar, “Design and Audit Drainage Systems Quickly and Confidently.” Also available on-demand after airing.

  1. Phase management.

The InfoDrainage Phase Management tool allows creation of multiple scenarios for drainage design. You can identify the optimum location, volume and storage structure types that achieve the best results at the lowest cost. They can be analyzed together, with a report comparing all the scenarios. As described by Autodesk, this tool can save over 90% of the manual effort involved in preparing a comparison report. It also reduces human error in doing manual comparisons of multiple model simulations.

  1. Model rainwater harvesting tanks.
purple lightning bolt in black night sky surrounded by pink and blue clouds

In states that allow it, harvesting rainwater is the most sustainable SuDS practice when it comes to runoff and demand reduction. With InfoDrainage, the effect of rainwater tanks on a sub-catchment level can be modeled. The designer can specify:

  • the number of tanks,
  • volume of detention (for stormwater control),
  • retention,
  • outflow from the detention compartment,
  • harvesting demand from the retention compartment.

Designers can test options for varying demand values to choose the correct size of rainwater harvesting tanks.

  1. Reconnecting sub-catchments.

With InfoDrainage, there is no need to delete and redraw sub-catchments when the design is revised. You can reconnect sub-catchments whenever needed. In addition, you can import GIS or CAD polygons, have them be recognized as sub-catchments and automatically connect to nodes within their boundaries.

  1. Bifurcation and complex drainage.

InfoDrainage lets you model as many divisions of water lines (bifurcations) as required to represent the physical reality of the drainage arrangement, helping you design complex drainage arrangements confidently. The old workaround of modeling with multiple offline loops and reduced timesteps – known for reduced accuracy and model instability – is no longer needed.

Bifurcation in InfoDrainage; image: blogs.autodesk.com
  1. Pre-analysis validation.

InfoDrainage has a validation tool that provides a list of problematic errors and warnings that may be causing issues in a simulation. The designer can then correct issues before they begin an analysis. If issues are associated with levels, InfoDrainage will even give a list of suggestions for a fix.

  1. Civil 3D integration.

If you use Civil 3D, you can import sub-catchments directly from InfoDrainage. The data associated with the drainage model (rainfall, sub-catchments, runoff coefficient) are preserved when exporting to Civil 3D. In a process referred to as “roundtrip,” the data can be brought back into InfoDrainage with all the sub-catchment connections and the associated runoff coefficient ready for simulation. Roundtrip can be repeated as many times as required to ensure the design complies with regulations.

  1. Object and project templates.

InfoDrainage has project and object templates that can provide a starting point for designers. They can be used for multiple designs, by client, by project, and by country. This saves time entering data whenever a new design is started.

Using these nine features of InfoDrainage, water professionals can accurately and efficiently design and model surface water and drainage systems.



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