Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management in Cities
Stormwater is the fastest growing source of freshwater pollution in the world. A single quart of oil can contaminate two million gallons of drinking water, or create an oil slick that covers eight acres. In many urban areas, during times of heavy rain (or even light rain), sewer systems are quickly overwhelmed, and run off from the streets—a combination of rainwater, oil, grease, heavy metals, pesticides and other pollutants —combines with raw sewage and is discharged directly into our lakes, rivers, and oceans.
Hundreds of municipalities around the country are struggling to meet federally-mandated water quality goals designed to address this pollution. While billions of dollars will be spent to engineer “gray” solutions, green infrastructure—rain gardens, bioswales, and restored wetlands—not only offer cost savings but also generate co-benefits in the form of urban green space, improved air quality and community development.
Unlike gray infrastructure (such as treatment plants), which carries stormwater away from the source, green infrastructure relies on nature-based methods to retain stormwater directly at the point at which it falls. This green infrastructure allows water to be filtered naturally and slows its progress to sewers, lessening the chance that these systems will be overwhelmed.
NatureVest aims to help cities accelerate their use of green infrastructure to manage stormwater runoff by developing financing tools that attract private capital to support these projects, creating environmental and social benefits.
Deal Team Leads
How business can keep clean water flowing
Craig Holland, Director of Product Development
“The vision of our collaboration is to empower cities to solve challenges of water pollution, drinking-water protection, air quality and climate resilience by drawing on a toolkit of natural infrastructure solutions and financing mechanisms that can drive those solutions at the lowest possible public cost.”
Top image: © Jonathan Grassi. Image credits: © Ian Shive.