Each year brings storms to different parts of the country. Cities, with many paved surfaces that prohibit water from soaking into the ground, must find workable ways to manage excess water from rain, melting snow, rising rivers, and storm surge. Here are implications involved with urban flooding and innovative ways to manage stormwater and benefit rather than harm the environment.
Excess water that floods urban areas causes multiple problems. It damages residential and professional structures, destroys roadways, and causes damage to electrical and plumbing infrastructures. Professional plumbers have access to specialized methods such as performing a sewer smoke test to look for damaged areas where stormwater runoff is getting into pipes. In areas with much paving, water takes a long time to drain off. It breeds mosquitoes and slows efforts to repair and rebuild.
Further Dangers of Unmanaged Water Flow
Since urban centers have many paved areas that prevent water from naturally seeping back into the planet’s surface, a number of problems occur in addition to the obvious scenario of flooding. Excess stormwater becomes contaminated from surface materials such as fertilizers, pesticides, and chemical residues. As the stormwater eventually runs off and drains away, it wreaks havoc with ecological systems and kills plants, fish, and animals.
Unchecked, such circumstances can lead to extinctions, which affect the entire cycle of life. However, systems have been developed so that urban areas help rather than hurt the planet’s ecology.
Pavements that let water drain through them can reduce ponding and flooding within urban areas.
- Grid pavers made of plastic
- Pervious concrete
- Paving grids
Each strategy has varying levels of permeability, but all can be useful in helping control urban flooding by allowing rain to drain into the ground in an environmentally friendly way.
Urban planners, civil engineers, and environmental experts also are studying and developing advanced systems for capturing excess water and then distributing it throughout the environment in a beneficial manner. This type of system includes green roofs and large tanks, and it is a complement to more traditional infrastructure such as aqueducts and water treatment locations.
Once the excess water has been captured, it can be released back into the ground as well as used for other purposes such as nonpotable needs in houses and businesses. These releases would be managed in specific calculated proportions.
Responsible Management for a Brighter Future
Planning for and managing stormwater runoff makes a better future for humans, wildlife, and the planet. Storms will continue to occur, and smart solutions for handling excess water prevent numerous, long-term problems. Though change will be needed, the end result will be a better existence for all living beings, including the Earth.