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Effective Green & Gray Infrastructure

Most people are familiar with “gray” water infrastructure — the hard, concrete and metal pipes, holding tanks, pumps, water tunnels, and treatment plants. These systems play a key role in managing drinking water, wastewater and combined-sewer systems.

“Green” infrastructure is a newer approach to stormwater management that mimics nature by capturing stormwater so it can either be reused or seep into the ground where it falls, rather than flowing into underground sewer and storm pipes. Methods for stormwater capture include rain gardens, pervious pavement, planted swales, and storage containers such as cisterns and rain barrels. Green-infrastructure features can help reduce stress on water systems and can provide good local jobs, as well as making the communities where they’re installed healthier and more beautiful.

Both gray and green infrastructure are important components of water infrastructure systems statewide. Communities with combined sewer systems in particular will be evaluating gray- and green-infrastructure approaches to come up with the best combination that meets regulatory requirements cost-effectively and in a manner that provides tangible community benefits.

Resources

New Guidance: Designing Parks and Public Spaces with Green Infrastructure

Jersey Water Works Green Infrastructure Committee issues design recommendations.

The Jersey Water Works Green Infrastructure Committee has released recommendations for designing new parks and public spaces with green infrastructure to manage stormwater.  Green infrastructure features allow parks and public spaces to manage stormwater, control flooding, and improve water quality in ways that complement and can even enhance their other functions.  Green infrastructure features can be especially useful in flood-prone areas and in cities that need to reduce combined sewer overflows.

 

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Green Infrastructure Toolkit from the Georgetown Climate Center

This toolkit from the Georgetown Climate Center can help local governments at different stages of their green infrastructure programs find the resources and examples that are most helpful to them.

Climate Change Adaptation in the Water Supply Sector

This white paper provides an overview of anticipated climate change implications for water supply, and provides a range of possible management responses including planning and physical mitigation projects. Authored by Jersey Water Works Steering Committee member Daniel J. Van Abs.

Turning Concept Into Reality: Green Infrastructure

The Green Infrastructure Support Tool (GIST) is a web-based mapping tool that provides wetland restoration site analysis. By combining environmental data with business initiatives it compares values and costs in order to determine the best restoration sites and options.

Philly Shares Design Secrets of Eco-Friendly Schoolyards

This article from Next City describes how the Philadelphia-based Community Design Collaborative and the Philadelphia Water Department are partnering to redesign city schoolyards into eco-friendly learning areas that also play an active role in the city’s stormwater management. The article provides a link to the design guide on greening schoolyards, and more information can be found on the Community Design Collaborative website.

Links

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