Andrew Reese sees stormwater management going "back to the future" faster than a 1982 DeLorean with a "flux capacitor." Even if you don't get his clever reference to the Steven Spielberg movie, it suffices to say: Big changes are coming out when it comes to regulating pollutants in stormwater. And, it turns out, mimicking nature with green infrastructure can provide a reliable means of meeting new standards.
City of Melbourne Councillor Aaron Wood nominated water sensitive urban design as a means by which to manage flood and other risks as a critical part of the city’s push to become more sustainable. Melbourne and other Australian cities had in the past been excessively reliant upon large scale engineering solutions to flood risk management, taking an approach that required the construction of large drainage systems beneath city streets, said Wood.
“Soil depth is a primary water management tool for use by local government to adapt to a changing climate. A well-designed landscape with healthy topsoil helps communities through both wet and dry times. Soil is a sponge. It holds and slowly releases rainwater. This can limit runoff during rainy weather; and reduce irrigation water need during dry weather. In the City of Surrey, we specify a minimum soil depth of 300 mm," states David Hislop.
Caught in the middle of the stormwater runoff issue are “urbanized” municipalities, including most boroughs and townships in eastern Cumberland County in Pennsylvania, which are required to reduce stormwater pollution by 60 percent by 2025. There are ways to mitigate the cost through intermunicipal cooperation, Kirk Stoner said, and the county has organized a working group involving all the municipalities required to complete a pollution reduction plan.
The State of California has released a film series to bring to life simple practices that individuals and communities can do to become stewards of their watersheds and slow the flow of stormwater from homes and businesses when the rain returns. "When much of California is facing drought and limited water supplies, capturing and reusing every drop of water will not only be clever, but crucial," wrote Paula Luu.
"Capturing rainwater where if falls offers appealing technical alternatives to stormwater runoff capture than conventional end-of-pipe measures. Decentralized controls have the potential to reduce the frequency and volume of CSO events. In addition, a decentralized approach to stormwater management allows communities the flexibility to respond to everchanging economic and environmental conditions," stated Neil Weinsten.
"While 'grey' or traditional infrastructure remains an essential part of safe and effective design for flood control and urban watershed management, it is no longer the only tool in the toolbox. Green infrastructure systems, by contrast, harness natural processes to infiltrate, recharge, evaporate, harvest and reuse stormwater," writes Laura Tam.
“This new regulatory framework will transform the District’s impervious areas into a more river-friendly landscape. It is a critical step toward making District waterbodies more usable and attractive," said Keith Anderson.
“The rule is expected to place more emphasis on using green infrastructure. EPA will need to put something out soon so that all sides are at least debating a specific proposal rather than speculating on its content," concludes Janice Kaspersen.
"The projected rulemaking addresses a number of key areas of action, particularly the implementation of a specific on-site performance standard in new and redeveloped sites as projects are built. This include establishing a single set of stormwater requirements for all municipal separate sewer systems," writes Art Haddaway.
A scenario comparison tool to assess green infrastructure effectiveness, achieve a lighter 'water footprint' and protect stream health. Learn More
The Water Conservation Calculator illustrates how specific water conservation measures can yield both fiscal and physical water savings for communities. Learn More
This Landscape Irrigation Scheduling Calculator uses real-time daily evapotranspiration (ET) rates determined from climate stations located within British Columbia. Learn More
This Agricultural Irrigation Scheduling Calculator uses real-time daily evapotranspiration (ET) rates determined from climate stations located within British Columbia. Learn More
The BC Agriculture Water Calculator enables water licensing for all irrigation purposes, whether agricultural or landscape. All non-domestic users of groundwater in BC are required to obtain a licence. Learn More