Even though it might seem as a minor part of the environment, rain and heavy snowfall can become quite problematic with an increase in their quantity. Stormwater and its drainage have been a part of the management system, as sometimes, the consequences might become severe for the geography of the place and its surrounding area. Cities have developed many systems of control but nonetheless, there are cases that are out of human reach.
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An important part of stormwater drainage is the way it interacts with the environment and how it is controlled. The design of the system can have a great effect on how the water is contained.
The primary and major influence that stormwater might have on the surrounding area is flooding. Water has a great force and impact, if it is not contained and so, runoff must be controlled at all stages. Not only rainfall can cause flooding but melting snow and changes to the rivers, lakes and in some cases, oceans can become a problem. Another issue attained to stormwater is pollution.
As the water moves through an area it collects all sorts of residue and pollutants along the way. Pesticides, oil, bacteria and other city garbage is all picked up and carried to one location. The connection between many waterways affects the public areas but also the life of organisms in the body of water. The public safety becomes a concern when the runoff water causes erosion.
There is much danger when the debris is carried around and can cause blockages or unsafe conditions. But more importantly, is that storm waters can pool in certain areas and become a drowning hazard. There have been many cases when large amounts of water have severely affected roads and other structures, causing a collapse in the base of roads, bridges and buildings. Mud slides are known to inflict major damage to buildings and large populated areas (Butler 2010, p. 56).
As the factors of the storm waters are studied, the control and management become more efficient. A key feature of the landscape architecture is to make sure that the water is used in the most beneficial way for the people and environment.
Sometimes, the circumstances of water damage are hardly predictable and so, a lot of future planning must be done. The environment is very sensitive to the overflowing waters, as it influences top soil and the living ecosystem. The surface of the ground is particularly affected when the roots of grass and plants are washed off.
The roots of trees lose connection to the ground and become largely unstable. Even though nature has established a balance between the amount of water and plants, sometimes it becomes hard to control. Not only there are natural causes but humanity has also impacted the way water circulates. When the ground gets largely saturated with water it has an immediate result, the density affected becomes unstable and connection of the physical entity is lost.
In response to the effects of flooding cities has developed numerous systems of control and containment. The most basic feature is drainage. Since the water affects a large area the drainage system has to be spread out. Both industrial and residential areas of a town must have sufficient amount of drains to allow for water collection.
The sewage system is designed specifically to collect as much rain and other runoff water as possible. It is also made in such a way, as to allow for any solid material to be included in the potential containment. There are several classifications of the placement and chains of water drainage and control. The first one is internal and consists of the arrangement inside buildings and other human made structures. It is used to deliver water to the external waterways.
The outside system is used to collect and deliver water to the places where it is either collected temporarily, stored indefinitely or is cleaned for further usage. There is a division in the types of water management according to its destination. The storm water is a great resource for agriculture and so, it is cleaned and stored, whereas water for industrial uses is sent to plants and industrial areas (Marsalek 2001, p. 7).
The circulation of water in nature is very much dependant on rains and further movement of water. Rivers play a great role in the environment and the geographical changes to the close by landscape. The existing departments of water control have a structure of development and functioning of the rain water.
The basins of rivers and regional waterways are included in the planning system, as the state of readiness must always be present in relation to such a force. The rain water and flooding danger do not have a specific area of impact, so the trans-regional geographical strategy is best in controlling and predicating the outcomes.
There are some physical limitations, as to the traditional systems of control which were developed in response to the water danger and its behavior in an area. A close communication and cooperation between different nations and countries is essential to the control and preservation of the natural environment, as well as safety of the population.
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As previously mentioned, snow is another source of water that can cause significant damage to the area (Hudson 1993, p. 30). Usually, a great amount of snowfall and its further collection in a certain area leads to problems. Often, the city authorities will devote a specific area where it is collected and mostly, it is designated to be outside the city limits.
At the times of heavy snowfall, the amount of melted snow might add to seasonal changes and rainfall will greatly increase runoff. There are countries that have developed a system where snow is collected and stored for future practical uses but the majority of nations do not have resources to properly deal with excess water.
Overall, the major issues connected to the drainage systems and their management is the predictability and control of water. The modeling that is involved is a science that bases itself on the modification of the design in relation to the conditions that are present at a particular time and place.
The geography plays a major role, as the natural resources of the area can be largely used for the containment of the water. The transformation of rivers and waterways to include dams and channels will help in the direction and storage of stormwater. There are numerous tests that must be carried out prior to any changes to the environment, as water is a force that can have a great influence on the area. The topography and vegetation can be used to aid in the containment and channeling of unneeded water.
It is important to keep in mind that the capacity of the soil has to precisely managed, as there is a limit to the amount of absorption. Human activity and changes to the landscape have changed the cycle of water but at the same time, many problems with run off and storm waters have been solved. Certain natural and unnatural materials, like gravel, sand or even metal can be used to deal with precaution procedures and control (Beven 2012, p.27).
The science of water control has been a part of human history for a long time. Because people have always settled near rivers and other sources of water, flooding has been a constant problem. A close study of types of soil, evaporation and water absorption has helped better understand the movement of water through nature. The impact that flooding has had on countries is well known and cannot be undermined. Modern technologies have focused on the construction of best preventative and control measures for drainage of water.
The intricate system of sewage and pipelines has allowed for channeling of water without significant changes to the geography of the area but it has also created opportunities for accidents and loss of control. The extra water that has been ignored and management systems affected by malpractice and improper functioning have given rise to casualties and considerable damage.
There is no denying that the linkage between urbanization and natural systems very much controls and affects the way water is distributed within human and ecological world. It is a force that cannot be ignored and misused.
Beven, K 2012, Rainfall-Runoff Modelling: The Primer, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken
Butler, D 2010, Urban Drainage. Taylor & Francis, New York.
Hudson, N 1993, Field Measurement of Soil Erosion and Runoff. Food & Agriculture Org, Bedford.
Marsalek, J 2001, Advances in urban stormwater and agricultural runoff source controls. Springer, Norwell.