Rain Barrels Show Results
One three-year study in Stratford, Prince Edward Island, Canada, now shows that rain barrels do indeed help divert water from storm systems to reduce flooding. In Stratford, over 1,000 rain barrels were distributed to households who installed them under downspouts and then used the collected water for various purposes like watering lawns and gardens. Overall, the study showed “modest, but critical” positive results with up to a 4.5% diversion of water from treatment plants. Each drop does indeed make a difference!
Bipartisan Support for Brownfields Renewal
With an important election year coming up, it’s impossible to ignore the media frenzy over various candidates. In a highly partisan atmosphere, though, one issue stands out as completely bipartisan—brownfields renewal programs. The National Journal writes this week that leaders are reaching across party lines to support the funding and expansion of the EPA Brownfields program in order to promote safer neighborhoods and economic growth. While change may be slow to realize, it’s heartening to see that sometimes we can all agree on key environmental and economic issues.
The Deluge and the Drought
Adaptive reuse is at the forefront of stormwater management research in California. With the state in the middle of the worst drought of the past 1,200 years, desperate times call for creative measures, and Stanford University is at the cutting edge of stormwater reuse with its Engineering Research Center for Re-Inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt). Richard Luthy, co-director of ReNUWIt, pegs the issue by saying, “Meeting water needs in the future is going to depend a lot on how we reuse water and what we do with stormwater.” Los Angeles is planning, over the next twenty years, to collect 10% of its total water needs from stormwater capture, and ReNUWIt is designing a 50 acre stormwater capture and treatment facility for the city in an abandoned quarry. From managed wetlands to basins and street-side capture systems, innovation in the face of adversity is, more than ever before, the name of the game in California stormwater management.