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Current strategies of managing water are outdated and ineffective at addressing aging water systems and climate change. In response, this report urges cities to adopt integrated water management, an approach to managing water that encourages coordination between all water systems (such as wastewater plants, stormwater collection, and source waters). 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.
The Flint Basin in the Georgia piedmont is a major water supply source for hundreds of thousands of Georgians. Since 2000, severe droughts have struck the Flint Basin. In an effort to improve drought resilience in the basin, the Upper Flint River Working Group was formed to protect the social, ecological, recreational, and economic values the river system provides. Through the group, diverse stakeholders have come together to share information, identify barriers, and proactively pursue opportunities to restore the river system and its flows. This report outlines the Working Group’s goals and strategies for river system resilience, and details specific actions taken by individual members that are enhancing water availability during the drought.
When rainwater hits hard surfaces like roads and parking lots, it runs along the surface till it flows into a storm drain, river, or stream. Known as stormwater runoff, this water picks up pollutants such as heavy metals, brake linings, and deicing salts which contaminate local waters. While polluted stormwater runoff can occur wherever there are surfaces impervious to water, highways and roads are a significant source. This report evaluates opportunities to better integrate green infrastructure for post-construction stormwater management into transportation projects, focusing specifically on roads and highways. Additionally, it draws from two case studies to identify best practices in funding and integrating green infrastructure at the transportation planning and project development stages.
When rainwater runs from storm drains into local rivers, lakes, and streams, it pollutes our water with heavy metals, bacteria, and other contaminants that put our lives at risk. Communities should incorporate green infrastructure and practices as part of the stormwater control strategy. In doing so, communities and property developers can reduce energy costs, diminish the impacts of flooding, improve public health, and reduce overall infrastructure costs.
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.
Current strategies of managing water are outdated and ineffective at addressing aging water systems and climate change. In contrast to traditional water management approaches that rely solely on pipes, levees, and dams, this report urges cities to embrace green infrastructure. Drawing from eight case studies, this report demonstrates how restoring natural landscapes, preventing wasteful water use, and working with nature (rather than against it) can help communities protect public health, reduce flood damages, and secure a consistent supply of clean water.
Polluted stormwater runoff is one of the largest growing sources of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. To mitigate this problem, green infrastructure practices can be used to manage urban runoff by capturing and infiltrating rainwater where it falls. One of the major challenges to the adoption of green infrastructure programs is uncertainty about how they will be maintained. This report examines some of the major barriers to effective operations and maintenance of green infrastructure practices in the Chesapeake Bay region and identifies strategies and best practices that local governments are using to develop and improve maintenance practices.