Stanford scientist examines ways to put stormwater to use in big cities

December 15, 2014, Stanford University

Runoff from rainstorms in big cities can represent both threats and opportunities. Too much runoff in the wrong places causes flooding. Too little rainwater in the right places leads to dried-up creeks and rivers. Water that washes up pollution from city streets can dirty downstream watersheds. Figuring out the best solutions to these problems requires lots of data - data that are easy to get in highly developed countries, but much scarcer in others.

On Dec. 15 at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco, Perrine Hamel, a postdoctoral scholar with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, will speak on "Mapping Stormwater Retention in the Cities: A Flexible Model for Data-Scarce Environments." At 9 a.m. PT at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Salon 13-15, she will present work in progress to model the ecosystem and financial benefits of "natural capital," such as undisturbed watersheds or urban biofilters for managing stormwater.

"It's really trying to mimic what would happen in a natural watershed," said Perrine.

Initially, Perrine and co-author Bonnie Keeler from the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment plan to study the data-rich Capitol Region watershed in St. Paul, Minnesota. Then they plan to extend that work to the data-poor settings of São Paulo, Brazil, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Their goal is to determine the value of stormwater retention services for large cities in developing countries, and to compare their benefits to those of other services like recreation or urban heat island mitigation. Natural Capital Project partners World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy want to help large cities like Addis Ababa develop in ways that enhance the provision of ecosystem services and that don't create future problems from .

Explore further: New software provides more effective accounting development projects' impact

Related Stories

Scientists study stormwater, deadly to salmon

November 17, 2014

A team of researchers is running experiments this fall to understand what happens when salmon are exposed to rain runoff collected from one of Seattle's busiest highways.

US cityscapes show consistent patterns of 'urban evolution'

September 10, 2014

Most people think of city landscapes as simpler, diminished versions of the wild forests and free-flowing streams found in remote places. But in a series of studies published Sept. 10, 2014 in a special issue of the journal ...

Recommended for you

Fish-inspired material changes color using nanocolumns

March 20, 2019

Inspired by the flashing colors of the neon tetra fish, researchers have developed a technique for changing the color of a material by manipulating the orientation of nanostructured columns in the material.

Researchers shed new light on the origins of modern humans

March 20, 2019

Researchers from the University of Huddersfield, with colleagues from the University of Cambridge and the University of Minho in Braga, have been using a genetic approach to tackle one of the most intractable questions of ...

One transistor for all purposes

March 20, 2019

In mobiles, fridges, planes – transistors are everywhere. But they often operate only within a restricted current range. LMU physicists have now developed an organic transistor that functions perfectly under both low and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.