WC132 SeptOct 2023 - Magazine - Page 31
But the public doesn’t care if flooding comes from a river or
a road drainage backup or an old combined sanitary sewer full
of stormwater. The engineers found out it was river water mostly
responsible for flooding my basement, and I’m glad that distinction
was made clear is something said never and by nobody. People
are too busy drying stuff out.
Knowing and characterizing stormwater is important if you
want to fix things though. And we do know more now than
ever thanks to advances in research and techniques. The design
of mitigation measures will continue to advance from the huge
amounts of ongoing hard work, research, and real-world trials.
New technologies will keep developing, including smart and
AI-based controls for stormwater storage, which can greatly
increase storage efficiency. Smart controls could also be programmed to divert runoff away from infiltration facilities when
salinity in runoff creeps up. Designs of infiltration facilities can
now use models that detail more exact surface water-groundwater flow interactions, thereby allowing better resilience of
nearby wetlands from development and climate change.
These last points open some different but equally important
dimensions of stormwater for discussion. Stormwater quality and maintaining long-term infiltration volumes are very
important things and with equal advances in our abilities seen
recently. Good thing too, as this is the same water we will drink
in time. We must protect all of our sources of water, including
our stormwater runoff.
Maybe a story to end, one on water quality.
During a cab ride to the airport, on my way to a water conference, the driver asked me where I was going and what I did.
So, I described it to him, but he wanted more details. I pointed
out my rain-covered window at the runoff in the ditch at the
side of the road and said that my job was to clean that water
before it got to the lake. And he said, “Why would you want to
do that?” And I said, “Because that’s what you drink.” And he
said, “That’s why I drink bottled water.” And then I said, “We
don’t really allow bottled water at our conferences.” And he said
that sounds socialist or something.
I think back on that conversation a lot. Effective communication might not be the key to all things, but it has to start
there. It just wasn’t my day, I’d forgotten my passport too, and
we had to go back. I had a bit better luck talking to him about
stormwater the second time.
WAT E R C A N A D A . N E T