Aug. 4, 2015 -- According to new reports, low-impact development is gaining popularity as a smarter approach to stormwater management using small-scale practices to mimic a site's natural hydrology.
One solution to controlling runoff is permeable pavement. This porous pavement filters and allows a portion of roadway or parking lot runoff to infiltrate the surface to recharge groundwater sources.
Much of the land in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, for example, is paved or covered by structures that are impervious to water penetration, according to Fouad Jaber, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist in water resources management.
Because of this imperviousness, the typical filtration and purification process conducted by soil and plants is sidestepped, he said. As a result, bacteria, sediments, oil, grease, pesticides, and fertilizer nutrients from yards, roads and parking lots end up running off directly into the Trinity River watershed.
As such, the North Central Texas Council of Governments created a program to reduce runoff from land-use developments and to educate local governments on the benefits of permeable pavements.
Infrastructure such as sidewalks, bike paths and parking facilities constructed or retrofitted with permeable pavements in place ease the strain on drainage systems by diverting a portion of surface water to groundwater reserves.
They are cost-effective because they reduce a development's dependence on swales (artificial dips or slopes in the surface designed to channel, filter and increase infiltration), retention ponds and other stormwater management tools.