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Urban Stormwater Management and Guide to Sustainable Drainage Design

24 February 2017

An inverse relationship often acts as a system beneficial mechanism. In nature, negative feedback is found in the carbon cycle and in plant photosynthesis. Sometimes, though, such relationships can harm the systems they’re regulating. In terms of urban stormwater management strategies, infrastructural changes are guilty of this reaction. Simply put, urbanization projects are negatively impacting our drainage resources. Fortunately, intelligently implemented drainage networks can stem the tide, but can we keep this action sustainable?

A Civil Engineering Balancing Act

Expert consulting teams design elegant solutions that fit unique situations. The construction sites extend over rivers and mountains, cut into hillsides, and flatten entire valley floors. But balance weighs heavily on the engineer’s mind while the concrete and steel structures are erected. These considerations consolidate the natural resources that define the topography here, all so that the man-made roads, buildings, and bridges work with the environment, not against it.

Urban Stormwater Management

Mother Nature is a very proficient engineer. She builds her own water drainage systems. They cut into the land as little rivulets and native ground water culverts. The job of the engineer here is to mimic this layout. In catering for this sustainable drainage system, the urban work accommodates this additional infrastructure requirement. Let’s study a few examples of this nature-mimicking policy. On the way, we’ll transform some hypothetical ideas into a practical solution.

Adapting Nature’s Finest SuDS

This engineering method has nothing to do with soap, but it does have everything to do with sustainable stormwater conditioning. SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) are landscaped watercourses. These Green resources are built alongside park parcels and hedgerows to regulate heavy rainfall, to filter it and control its discharge. The biodiverse land plots obviously look good. They generate fresh air and soften hard-edged urban landscapes. Animals and birds prosper here, as do excited kids, but civil engineers see deeper. Indeed, they add water catchments to nature’s garden with sincere purpose, for these lazily descending runoffs slow the discharge and filter the water. Then, when earthen balance is properly struck, the tamed rainwater is returned to a river or lake, ready to create a better place to live, work, and play.

Aqueduct design and water flow architecture has been part of man’s engineering domain since the time of the Romans. Today’s stormwater management ventures are much the same. There are obviously concrete culverts and broadened artificial channels below the ground, but these man-made features are built to work with other drainage assets. The only difference here, of course, is that these are nature’s finest sustainable water regulators.

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