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Cities get creative with stormwater management

New Orleans among those adopting natural and manmade solutions

October 10, 2014 |
Rendering: Waggonner & Ball Architects

Cities around the world are crafting stormwater management policies that include natural and manmade methods to store and absorb runoff to reduce flooding.

A prime example is Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The low-lying city created an urban park that features a giant holding tank with a capacity of 450,000 gallons. This “water plaza” public space makes use of the stormwater in cascading channels with pools and fountains. During dry times, the public can make use of a basketball court, skate park, and an amphitheater.

The city is also planning more water storage areas in unused parking lots. To trap stormwater before it hits the ground, every municipal building is topped by a green roof.

Dutch specialists have helped New Orleans draft its Living with Water plan for stormwater, which supplements the city’s system of levies and pumps with new water storage sites and natural infrastructure to help contain and filter floodwater. The 50-year program for upgrades and retrofits to stormwater management incorporates the principals used in the Netherlands.



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