Monday, June 22, 2015

Green Infrastructure As A Tool To Help Reduce Deadly Flooding

Just had a workshop on Friday with NOAA and local Cities and groups concerning green infrastructure.  --Gene
Houston, TX (May 27, 2015) — In a CNN Opinion piece following harrowing floods across Texas, Harriet Festing at the Center for Neighborhood Technology outlines the tools neighborhoods need to help reduce deadly flooding. Part of that arsenal is a strong green infrastructure including trees and other greenspace to help filter and absorb excess water.

The problem, according to Festing is that Houston — and many other cities — have paved over wide stretches of land increasing the chance of flooding. Houston is a pretty flat city in a subtropical climate just barely above sea level. Under those circumstances, realistically flooding may be unavoidable, but in some cities even just a few inches of rain can result in flooded basements and washed-out roads. Why? Because the way we have built cities makes them flood.
When we pave over absorbent dirt and grasses, rainwater runs off asphalt and concrete and often ends up overwhelming drainage systems and, in severe cases, flooding homes. The more impervious surfaces a city has, the more likely it is that it will suffer from urban flooding. Sprawling, heavily paved cities such as Houston can be especially vulnerable.
As the threat of climate change escalates, cities and regions must get serious about finding solutions. The Center for Neighborhood Technology created its RainReady program as a municipal-scale initiative designed to bring communities together to find solutions to the problems of too much or too little water.
Investments in natural and nature-based infrastructure to increase infiltration and collect rain where it falls, also known as green infrastructure, play a strong role in the RainReady program and offer a host of benefits over “gray infrastructure.”
Coordinated landscaping, plumbing and building improvements for properties include backwater valves, downspout disconnection into dry wells and flood walls; runoff from alleys and parking lots can be captured through the installation of permeable pavement, trees and landscaped sidewalks; temporary water storage can be created from ponds, parks, urban forests and wetlands; and rain sensor networks can provide enhanced monitoring and flood alert systems for communities.
Read Festing’s full article for more about building resilient communities: “What can be done to stop deadly floods?CNN