Innovative Stormwater Management: Translating Science Into Actions
Coping with the New Reality
“The built up landscape is dominated by impervious surfaces which no longer allow the rainfall to infiltrate into the soil and will instead result in increased overland flow that contributes to more widespread flooding. At the same time climatic variability is increasing and the combination of urban densification and climate change will result in increasing runoff events that will result in increased flood risk,” wrote Dr. Hans Schreier in a 2014 report for the Canadian Water Network. Hans Schreier is Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Land & Food Systems at the University of British Columbia.
“It is becoming increasingly apparent that conventional stormwater drainage systems are ill prepared to deal with increasing rain events and a drastically changed land surface.”
“The questions that needs to be asked is how can we deal with this new reality and how do we change the traditional stormwater management system to cope with more frequent and higher flood events?”
Innovative Actions at Different Spatial Scales
“A major shift is needed to address these new conditions by focusing on runoff detention, temporary storage and infiltration of runoff water which also reduces the contamination problem. To accomplish this and to reduce the flooding and contamination risk a wide range of innovations are required to deal with the emerging runoff, flooding and pollution problems at three different spatial scales,” continued Hans Schreier.
“For the first time the property owners need to participate in retaining precipitation and delaying the runoff from their properties.”
“The next level of innovation is at the neighbourhood scale where runoff from impervious surfaces and contaminants from transportation are more intense.”
“Ultimately all runoff and pollution ends in the lowland floodplain. This requires a new approach for how to deal with extreme flooding events.”
Translating Science into Actions
“None of the individually proposed innovations will be sufficient to solve all problems but a combination of these approaches will help reduce the flood risk and for the first time will help to reduce contaminant input into urban streams.”
“The challenge is how these innovations can become the main tools for any new urban expansion and how the knowledge generated by research can be translated into widespread action,” concluded Hans Schreier.
To Learn More:
To download and read the complete report by Dr. Hans Schreier, click on Innovative Stormwater Management: Translating Science Into Actions.
Also, click on Primer on Water Balance Methodology for Protecting Watershed Health. to download a guidance document released in February 2014 by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia. The Primer provides water resource practitioners with how-to-guidance for applying an analytical process to establish Watershed-based Targets that “mimic the Natural Water Balance”.