Leading civil engineers have proposed that the UK adopts the strategies of other countries in dealing with floods as climate change makes flash flooding more of a risk.
Ahead of a meeting at the Royal Academy of Engineering, experts said techniques used in countries where torrential rain is common could be successfully used in this country.
One suggestion, from Professor Roger Falconer of Cardiff University, was to build large open drainage ditches at the side of urban roads, a technique that can channel large volumes of water in a short time that is used in Malaysia.
Another method proposed by Michael Norton, of consultant Halcrow, was to allow water to run through certain streets as is done in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Engineers are also looking at measures such as porous pavements and storing water in reservoirs or underground to avoid keeping it in pipes, which can quickly become overwhelmed.
Peter Jones, head of flood and coastal risk management branch of the Welsh Assembly Government, said existing systems had served UK cities well in the past, but with extreme rainfall becoming more common, some areas could suffer problems from surface water flooding.