Extreme weather events like heavy and prolonged rainfalls, heatwaves and droughts are two of the many consequences of climate change. These events are predicted to become more frequent and intense.
Stormwater runoff due to heavy rains can cause many problems in urban areas, such as pollution and illness from bacteria carried by stormwater runoff. It can also cause flooding and soil erosion, damaging infrastructure and property.
One solution to reduce its impacts and improve resilience is using green infrastructure.
What is Green Infrastructure?
It’s a water It’sgement system that simulates the natural water cycle to store, absorb, and recycle water efficiently and economically to protect and enhance a community’s life quality.
Green infrastructure is a cost-effective, resilient approach to managing wet weather impacts that provide many community benefits.
Single-purpose grey stormwater infrastructure—conventional piped drainage and water treatment systems—is designed to move urban stormwater away from the built environment.
Green infrastructure reduces and treats stormwater at its source while delivering environmental, social, and economic benefits, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, 2017
It is “how nature can be harnessed to provide services for communities—like flood prevention, reducing urban heat effect, improving air and water quality, and elevating the overall wellbeing of humans”, according to the Klausing Group, 2016.
The good thing about green infrastructure is that it can be applied to a local and large-scale level.
Examples of green infrastructures can be built in houses and buildings.
Rain gardens. It is built on a sloping landscape. The purpose is to collect and absorb runoff from sidewalks, streets, and rooftops. Filter the sedimentation and debris, help eliminate flooding, and improve stormwater systems’ efficiency.
Permeable pavements. They are made of either porous concrete, permeable asphalt, or interlocking pavements that can absorb runoff and helps in the evaporation of water, which can reduce heat in urban areas.
Green roofs. Roofs covered in vegetation help store and filter water and provide a cooling effect to urban areas, thereby reducing the cost of air-conditioning. It also helps absorb carbon emissions as well.
Other green infrastructures using the same principles as above are:
- the use of planter boxes; planting trees to provide natural canopies for water and soil retention and carbon absorption;
- And the use of rainwater harvesting systems to prevent water runoff and in regions with a limited water supply can help reduce water demand.
On a large-scale level, the application of green infrastructure would be the preservation and restoration of natural landscapes, like floodplains and wetlands.
Benefits of Implementing Green Infrastructure
The article “What is Gree” Infrastructure” by American “Rivers, an organisation that protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers and conserves clean water for people and nature, presents the following benefits of having green infrastructure:
Nature works best
Rivers, streams, wetlands, forests, and flood plains clean water and protect us from floods. New York invested 6M to purchase land around its Catskill reservoir to protect its drinking tap water from polluted and dirty runoff water entering its water supply. $6M investment is much lower than the projected $6B costs of constructing a water filtration plant.
Spend money wisely
Using wetlands, trees, and downspout disconnection can reduce stormwater flow and relieve pressure from stormwater drainage. In Indianapolis, it reduces the size of their pipes, allowing them to save hundreds of million dollars.
Enhance community safety and enjoyment
Green solutions offer the flexibility needed for climate change that 19th-century infrastructure cannot handle, increasing floods and droughts. Green infrastructure provides a modern approach to protecting health, safety, and quality of life.
In Napa, CA, instead of lining their river with concrete, they have restored their rivers and wetlands as natural water channels instead of the traditional way of lining their river with concrete. According to the article, it has protected 2,700 homes and prevented $26 million in flood damage.
Create jobs and good for the economy
Indeed, green infrastructure application creates jobs, such as plumbing, landscaping, infrastructure engineering, building, and design. It supports supply chains and manufacturers of materials for rainwater harvesting systems, permeable pavements, and roof membranes.
Read the full articles where this post is based from:
- “What is Gree” Infrastructure” by EPA
- “Wha” is Gree” Infrastructure” by American “Rivers
- “What is Gree” Infrastructure? A Definition and 5 Examples of How It Can Work on Your Commercial Kentucky Property“
PHOTO CREDIT”: By EPA – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, D.C. “Soak Up the “ain Green Infrastructure 2016 Handout”, Public Dom” in, Link