The main reason that flooding occurs in the first place is that the ground becomes too saturated to handle any additional water. Once the excess water has nowhere to go, then you have a flood problem on your hands. While communities have attempted to stay ahead of the flood threat through the construction of storm sewers and drainage canals, the continued building of parking lots, office parks, and neighborhoods has resulted in far less capacity for the ground to be able to properly absorb the excess. Even storm drains are easily overrun if the rain simply continues one day beyond what the sewer system was designed to handle.
A new and innovative concept being pursued by a number of engineering firms is that of green infrastructure, which allows rainfall to be properly absorbed into the ground where it falls, as opposed to attempting to channel it elsewhere through drainage systems that may very easily become overrun. This new design has been tested on limited levels in several neighborhoods n Toledo OH, with positive results. When the project was completed in 2012, resident reported a marked decrease in the cases of street or basement flooding, even in cases where severe weather lashed the area for several consecutive days.
Scenarios like the Toledo Experiment make for a very effective case when it come to considering the advantages of a green infrastructure. This is especially true for cities dealing with shifting precipitation patterns and a rapidly changing climate. Green infrastructure offers an extremely efficient and cost effective approach to protecting communities and mitigating the effects of localized flooding. Advancements in technology and green infrastructure concepts will no doubt go a long way towards reducing the amount of long term damage to homes, neighborhoods, and businesses across the country in the coming years.