For decades, the focus of stormwater management and flood control was to get the water out of the way—treating it as a waste product rather than a resource. When streets are impassable and basements are filling up, that seems like a reasonable strategy. But the last several years have shown a growing trend toward stormwater reuse, in many forms and for many different reasons.
In Florida, despite some past setbacks, efforts are underway to capture water to help solve the state’s water shortages. As this article in the Sun Sentinel reports, a $300 million reservoir is under consideration for Palm Beach County.
Critics say the project is too expensive and that the money would be better spent on other efforts like restoring wetlands. They also point out a cheaper alternative to ensure enough water for existing and new development: water conservation.
A Stormwater article on coping with drought pointed out a couple of years ago that some cities, even while encouraging water capture on a small scale such as rain barrels for individual homeowners, do not attempt to capture stormwater on a larger scale. In Atlanta, for example, municipal collection and redistribution of stormwater was deemed unfeasible because there simply wasn’t enough water during the drought to make it worthwhile.
But reuse, in theory, is possible in south Florida; the new reservoir could collect water now dumped into Lake Worth Lagoon and, when needed, could supply 185 million gallons a day to restock drinking water well fields, according to the Sun-Sentinel article. Skeptics point to two earlier, now-stalled reservoir projects in Palm Beach County, however: one on which construction was stopped after $280 million in tax revenue had been spent on it, after debates over how the water should be used and other legal disputes, and another that was completed but doesn’t have pumps needed to get the water out and to where it’s needed—pumps that will cost another $60 million beyond the initial construction costs.
Upcoming Forester University Webinars
January 12th, 2012
Planning & Executing an Effective Pavement Preservation Program
As roadway networks and commercial vehicle loading continue to increase and Municipality taxation power remains limited, the need to effectively maintain and improve our pavement infrastructure is paramount. Join David Hein, V.P. of Transportation for ARA, to explore the key concepts of an effective pavement preservation program, program implementation needs and guidelines, and common roadblocks to successful implementation. Read more…
January 26th, 2012
5 Steps to Creating a Successful Public Outreach Campaign
Change starts with people. Whether your focus is stormwater pollution, energy conservation, pavement restoration, or recycling, a successful public outreach campaign resonates with your target audience and leads to long-lasting behavior change. Join Erica Hooper of SGA to explore a proven 5-step approach to crafting a successful outreach campaign based on real-world examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Read more…
February 2nd, 2012
Advanced Stormwater Treatment: Dissolved Pollutants
How effective are your stormwater treatments in capturing dissolved loads? With an average of 45% of the phosphorus load and up to 50% of the metal load transported through treatment practices to receiving waters in dissolved form, advanced treatment is imperative. Join Andrew Erickson to explore cost-effective, field-tested methods to capture stormwater dissolved pollutants and optimize stormwater treatment performance. We’ll explore several field applications and data demonstrating significant improvements in dissolved pollutant fraction capture. Read more...