In the Great Lakes regions of both the USA and Canada, infrastructure managers are considering how they could use road runoff by creating a green Stormwater infrastructure to handle the excess water that is often rapidly channeled to nearby ponds, rivers, or lakes.
Often, if the water runs into these natural water sources untreated, it can become a source of pollution, as well as wasting the water.
It is important when discussing these issues to realize that to make changes in the Stormwater infrastructure, first the mindsets of the road engineers must be changed.
They need to understand that by using green infrastructure along with the traditional gray infrastructure, the pipes and spillways will last maybe twice as long, and for a very little additional cost.
Michigan has already started implementing green infrastructure along its roadsides and Toronto feels encouraged to do the same.
Model D reports:
“For example, says Jackson, road engineers could be talking with municipal water treatment operators to explore the potential for directing road runoff into infiltration basins that can recharge underground aquifers and support municipal water sources. Or runoff could be directed into habitat reconstruction areas to both cleanse it and provide habitat for native plants and animals–and natural beauty for communities.
“If the road engineer talked to the water supply department, they might say, ‘Hey, I don’t want all that water just pumped out somewhere else to a river or lake as quickly as possible. I want it to be infiltrating down into the ground to restore my water supply.’ If they talked to the planning department that looks at environmental issues in the municipality, they might say, “Wait a minute, I need that water to be infiltrating down into supporting the marshes’.”
This kind of innovation is still in early stages in the US, but if it succeeds, it could quickly become the norm in all regions that have enough Stormwater runoff to need it.
Inframanage.com observes that while we construct many authorities and ownership structures to meet our political, social and community needs the environment and ecosystems we live in do not have these differences.
Simply there is one whole ecosystem, with many specialist sub-ecosystems. These generally do not fit into our neat administrative boundaries.
The management of your utility, facility or transportation authority does not occur in isolation – you are connected to the environment; to other authorities; to other infrastructure.
These interconnections logically require infrastructure asset management to be undertaken holistically, and with a view to:
- The impacts of other activities on you
- The impact of your activity on others
- The impact of your activity on the environment
PHOTO CREDIT: By Phizzy (talk) – I created this work entirely by myself., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8056682