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The urgent need for sustainable stormwater management engineering practices

By John Cee Onwualu (FNSE, FNICE, FNIWE, P.E., R.ENG)

As urbanization continues, the impacts of land-use change on urban hydrology become increasingly severe.

Without sustainable stormwater management practices, cities will face more frequent and severe flooding, erosion, and water pollution.

It is necessary to take an integrated approach to manage stormwater that involves a combination of engineering practices, community engagement, and education. Here are two key takeaways:

Recommeded: The relationship between land-use change and urban hydrology

Summary of challenges and solutions

The challenges of managing stormwater are significant and complex.

However, sustainable stormwater management engineering practices can help to achieve stormwater management goals while minimizing negative impacts.

Examples of such practices include green roofs, bioretention cells, and permeable pavement.

Overall, the impacts of land-use change on urban hydrology highlight the need for sustainable stormwater management engineering practices.

By implementing these practices, we can mitigate the negative impacts of land-use change on urban hydrology and promote more sustainable and resilient urban environments.

Recommended: EXAMPLES OF SUSTAINABLE STORM WATER MANAGEMENT PRACTICES IN URBAN AREAS

Call to action for Sustainable Storm Water Management practices

There is an urgent need to adopt sustainable stormwater management practices in urban areas.

To achieve this, it is necessary to engage the community in the planning process and provide education programs for residents and decision-makers.

Implementing sustainable stormwater management practices is not only beneficial for the environment but provides social and economic benefits too. It’s time to act now!

In conclusion, sustainable stormwater management engineering practices are critical in mitigating the impacts of land-use change on urban hydrology.

By adopting green infrastructure, low-impact development approaches, and integrating land use planning and stormwater management, we can ensure that our cities are resilient and sustainable for generations to come.

The urgency of these practices is clear, and it is essential that we work together to promote and implement them.

Read Also: Challenges posed by traditional Stormwater Management Practices

References


Alshammari, E. et al., 2023. The Impacts of Land Use Changes in Urban Hydrology, Runoff and Flooding: A Review. In: E. Alshammari, et al. eds. Current Urban Studies. Malaysia: Scientific Research Publishing Inc., pp. 120-141.


Bibi & Sambeto, T., 2022. Modeling Urban Stormwater Management in the Town of Dodola based on Land-use and Climate Change using SWMM 5.1. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, Volume 44.
Hale, R. L., 2016. Spatial and Temporal Variations in Local Stormwater Infrastructure Use and Stormwater Management Paradigms over the 20th Century. Urban Drainage and Urban Stormwater Management, 8(7).

Li, L. et al., 2021. The Effect of Urban Land-Use Change on Runoof Water Quality: A Case Study in Hangzhou City, Hangzhou City: Environmental Research and Public Health.

Wu, J. et al., 2013. Using the Storm Water Management Model to predict Urban Headwater Stream Hydrological response to Climate and Land cover change. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 17(12), pp. 4743-4758.
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The relationship between land-use change and urban hydrology

By John Cee Onwualu (FNSE, P.E., R.ENG., M.ASCE)

Defining land-use change and urban hydrology

Land-use change refers to the human alteration of landscapes for various purposes, such as urban development, transportation, agriculture, and forestry.

Urban hydrology, on the other hand, is the study of water movement, storage, and quality in urban areas, including the impacts of human activities on the water cycle.

Explaining the link between land-use change and urban hydrology

Land-use change can profoundly affect urban hydrology by altering the amount, timing, and quality of water that runs off or infiltrates into the ground.

When natural landscapes, such as forests and wetlands, are replaced by impervious surfaces, such as rooftops, roads, and parking lots, surface runoff increases, and groundwater recharge decreases, leading to more frequent and severe flooding, erosion, and water quality degradation. Therefore, there is a growing need for sustainable stormwater management engineering practices that can mitigate these impacts.

Impacts of land-use change on urban hydrology

 Increased stormwater runoff

Land-use change often involves the removal of vegetation and soil, which are natural water absorbers, and the construction of impervious surfaces. Consequently, more rainwater runs off into nearby water bodies, leading to flooding, erosion, and property damage.

Reduced infiltration and groundwater recharge

Impervious surfaces prevent rainwater from infiltrating into the soil and recharging groundwater, which is a significant source of freshwater for many urban areas. Reduced infiltration also leads to increased runoff and higher peak flows during storms.

Stream channel erosion and water quality degradation

Increased runoff can cause stream channel erosion, loss of habitat, and altered streamflow dynamics. Moreover, urban runoff often contains pollutants, such as oil, metals, and nutrients, which can degrade the quality of receiving waters and harm aquatic life.

Read Also: IMPACTS OF LAND-USE CHANGE ON URBAN HYDROLOGY AND THE NEED FOR SUSTAINABLE STORM WATER MANAGEMENT ENGINEERING PRACTICES

References

Alshammari, E. et al., 2023. The Impacts of Land Use Changes in Urban Hydrology, Runoff and Flooding: A Review. In: E. Alshammari, et al. eds. Current Urban Studies. Malaysia: Scientific Research Publishing Inc., pp. 120-141.

Bibi & Sambeto, T., 2022. Modeling Urban Stormwater Management in the Town of Dodola based on Land-use and Climate Change using SWMM 5.1. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, Volume 44.

Hale, R. L., 2016. Spatial and Temporal Variations in Local Stormwater Infrastructure Use and Stormwater Management Paradigms over the 20th Century. Urban Drainage and Urban Stormwater Management, 8(7).

Li, L. et al., 2021. The Effect of Urban Land-Use Change on Runoof Water Quality: A Case Study in Hangzhou City, Hangzhou City: Environmental Research and Public Health.

Wu, J. et al., 2013. Using the Storm Water Management Model to predict Urban Headwater Stream Hydrological response to Climate and Land cover change. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 17(12), pp. 4743-4758.

Impacts of land-use change on Urban Hydrology and the need for Sustainable Storm Water Management Engineering Practices

By John Cee Onwualu (FNSE, P.E., R.ENG., M.ASCE)

Urbanization and the resultant land-use change have a profound impact on the hydrology of a region. As natural vegetation is replaced with impervious surfaces such as roads, parking lots, and buildings, the way rainwater and stormwater are managed is altered.

Traditional stormwater management practices, such as gray infrastructure, are often insufficient to handle increased runoff and can cause downstream flooding and water quality issues. In response, there is an urgent need for sustainable stormwater management engineering practices.

This article will explore the impacts of land-use change on urban hydrology, the challenges posed by traditional stormwater management practices, and the sustainable stormwater management practices that can address these challenges.

In addition, the article will discuss the importance of community engagement and education in promoting sustainable stormwater management practices.

A Peep into Land-use Change on Urban Hydrology

Land-use change can have significant impacts on urban hydrology, including changes in runoff and flooding. The development of land-use causes a rapid increase in impervious surfaces, which reduces infiltration and increases surface runoff.

This can lead to increased flooding and erosion, as well as changes in water quality due to increased pollutants in runoff. Climate change can also exacerbate these impacts by altering precipitation patterns and intensities.

To address these issues, sustainable stormwater management engineering practices are needed. This includes the use of green infrastructure, such as rain gardens and green roofs, to increase infiltration and reduce runoff.

In addition, Storm Water Management Model (SWMM), can be used to predict hydrological responses to land-use and climate change. These models can help inform decision-making and planning for sustainable stormwater management practices.

References

Alshammari, E. et al., 2023. The Impacts of Land Use Changes in Urban Hydrology, Runoff and Flooding: A Review. In: E. Alshammari, et al. eds. Current Urban Studies. Malaysia: Scientific Research Publishing Inc., pp. 120-141.

Bibi & Sambeto, T., 2022. Modeling Urban Stormwater Management in the Town of Dodola based on Land-use and Climate Change using SWMM 5.1. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, Volume 44.

Hale, R. L., 2016. Spatial and Temporal Variations in Local Stormwater Infrastructure Use and Stormwater Management Paradigms over the 20th Century. Urban Drainage and Urban Stormwater Management, 8(7).

Li, L. et al., 2021. The Effect of Urban Land-Use Change on Runoof Water Quality: A Case Study in Hangzhou City, Hangzhou City: Environmental Research and Public Health.

Wu, J. et al., 2013. Using the Storm Water Management Model to predict Urban Headwater Stream Hydrological response to Climate and Land cover change. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 17(12), pp. 4743-4758.