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Powerpoint outlining the city of Philadelphia's approach to adapting to modern water policies and actions to encourage innovation and sustainable growth.
Green infrastructure (GI) is a network of decentralized stormwater management practices, such as green roofs, trees, rain gardens and permeable pavement that can capture and infiltrate rain where it falls, thus reducing stormwater runoff and improving the health of surrounding waterways. While there are different scales of green infrastructure, such as large swaths of land set aside for preservation, this guide focuses on GI's benefits within the urban context. The ability of these practices to deliver multiple ecological, economic and social benefits or services has made green infrastructure an increasingly popular strategy in recent years. In addition to reducing polluted stormwater runoff, GI practices can also positively impact energy consumption, air quality, carbon reduction and sequestration, property prices, recreation and other elements of community health and vitality that have monetary or other social value. Moreover, green infrastructure practices provide flexibility to communities faced with the need to adapt infrastructure to a changing climate.
Water systems in the United States are among the safest in the world and yet, the fragmented way in which most cities have managed water historically is not viable for handling the serious water challenges confronting urban areas across the nation today and into the future. With climate change driving dramatic changes in the water cycle and rendering traditional approaches to water resources planning obsolete, the time has come for cities to adopt more holistic and resilient water management strategies. Based on the outcomes of an October, 2015 meeting of mayors, municipal leaders and urban water managers, this report encourages the pursuit of integrated water management as a pathway to addressing urban water challenges within and beyond city limits. The report explains the concept of integrated water management; illustrates the potential benefits of pursuing its implementation; and provides practical guidance about steps elected officials, water utility managers, and other municipal leaders can take to get started.
Green infrastructure practices provide a variety of benefits across the range of flood magnitudes. Common green infrastructure practices used to target flood management include green roofs, bioretention, water quality swales, and infiltration basins and trenches. While most effective at managing localized flooding, runoff volume capture can also significantly reduce the impact of larger scale riverine flooding events. Recent research on the impacts of green infrastructure employed on watershed-scale flooding suggests that green infrastructure can be effective at reducing peak flows for large infrequent storm events as well as provide noticeable volume reduction for more frequent storms. The ability for green infrastructure to address flooding at a variety of scales can lead to significant reductions in flood loss damages on an average annual basis.
The Sheboygan Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) is recognized as a nationwide leader in energy efficiency in the water and wastewater treatment sector. Sheboygan WWTP has implemented numerous energy-saving measures, mostly by replacing aging equipment with energy-efficient models.
OCEAN is an online resources of the Building Codes Assistance Project. Here they provide a case study of the work happening in San Antonio. On March 12, 2009, the San Antonio City Council voted to approve and adopt a new Sustainable Buildings Ordinance that increases the energy efficiency of buildings by 15% more than the existing San Antonio and Texas state energy codes. This measure incorporated water conservation and other green building elements for all new construction, additions and substantial renovations in the city. The ordinance will make San Antonio the third major city to adopt advanced energy codes in Texas, joining Austin and Houston. The new ordinance will go into effect January 1, 2010, and mark a significant collaborative effort by many stakeholders.
Creating a healthy, livable, and equitable city must include a commitment to effective water management. Yet, most cities have a water system that is burdened by serious threats, from lack of funds for proactive maintenance to challenges in quality or supply, that are too great to solve with current management practices. Cities can instead create a more resilient water system by transitioning to a new framework: integrated water management. This approach to water management can help cities leverage limited resources more efficiently and better safeguard the important roles that water fills in residents' lives. Residents depend upon safe drinking water flowing reliably from their taps, and cities must safeguard this vital service to protect the health of their residents. Providing clean drinking water equitably to all, regardless of income level or location within the city, is essential to preserve public trust in government. Water is a necessary commodity, powering residents' lives and businesses. Safe and easy access to healthy, attractive, and recreational waterways greatly enhances livability and economic development; even without a body of water, cities can generate new economic opportunities through infrastructure investment and maintenance.
If you and your neighbors suffer from flooding, water shortage, or polluted rivers and streams, your community needs a RainReady Plan. Preparing a RainReady plan can help your community summarize local problems, identify key actors, and pinpoint helpful actions.
Powerpoint presentation outlining the key features of integrated water resource management for cities.
Tucson, AZ has been pairing water conservation and development of new regional partnerships with Phoenix to source water sustainably in a drought-stricken area.