Published on April 1st, 2021 | by Sponsored Content0
How Do Cities Manage Stormwater?
When storms roll in, weather reports may say that four to six inches of rain fell overnight, yet city streets aren’t flooded, and homes are dry. This service can seem like magic if you don’t know how it works, but there’s a lot of thought and infrastructure that goes into planning for the rain.
Here’s how cities manage stormwater without getting overwhelmed:
City Planning When Building
Every city, from wet Seattle to dry Las Vegas, is built with water in mind. If too much pours in, these cities have to be ready to handle it. The curve of streets, the pitch of roofs, and the amount of drainage depend on what the city considers reasonable. For Las Vegas, five inches of rain is a lot and can cause flash flooding, while for Seattle, it would take several times that. Because of this, each city has its guidelines and laws for building.
Where Does The Rain Go?
Some may picture the rainwater vanishing off into local rivers and continuing to the sea, though this is not immediately the case. Instead, water slips into collection basins of varying sizes. These basins can be found beneath streets and under driveways of residential properties. They gather the excess water and slowly seep it back into the water system through holes near the basin’s bottom. Eventually, the water either makes its way through the water treatment system or is released into streams and rivers.
Residents also take excess rainwater into their own hands by keeping above-ground water collection jugs and barrels to catch runoff from their roof and save their yard from it. This planning can help cities because it means less water that enters into the storm drains. Residents can then use this water for their gardens and watering their lawn during dryer times. While you can’t drink it or use it in the house in most cases, it’s a great way to reduce water use from the tap for outdoor water needs. This saves money on your water bill!
How Do Collection Basins Stay Afloat?
If you picture a large water basin filling, you may wonder how it doesn’t overwlow, but most of these are set up to handle a lot of abuse. Unfortunately, even the best-laid plans can fail, and people have to be ready for that. An example of this is how Houston, Texas, continually gets large amounts of rain. Overall, most areas drain quickly and can handle it because of constantly updating infrastructure and finding better stormwater software to update how the city takes water.
In Hurricane Harvey, though, the hurricane dropped over four feet of water onto the city. In this case, the water basins were overwhelmed, and storm drains and rivers burst their banks. This doesn’t mean the city isn’t prepared, just that sometimes the weather dishes out more than we could reasonably expect.
As the climate changes, severe storms and flooding will continue to be the norm across the globe. Thus cities and towns will need to continually rethink and upgrade their stormwater systems to address these changing weather patterns.
This article is supported by Novo Solutions.