Green and blue infrastructure – ways to fight drought
Cities, although concreted for many decades, still cannot cope with droughts and high temperatures. Scientists and environmentalists are calling – let’s save the water! Water is life, water is also a way to lower the temperature in the environment and the ability to maintain stable humidity, which is so important for the development of us and greenery.
Prolonged droughts in Poland and Europe have become an important factor that had a significant impact on the pollen calendar, and thus the health of thousands of people who struggle with many allergies during this period.
Small retention in the form of ponds, systems that collect and gradually release water to roots and lawns are solutions that are becoming more and more common, and thus available and inexpensive. Many local governments decide to introduce solutions supporting the fight against drought in the form of subsidies for rainwater tanks or rainwater sprinkling systems, an example being the city of Toruń, which introduced such a program a few years ago1.
Retention reservoirs are not only barrels under the gutters, they are also ponds or larger fire protection reservoirs serving as emergency infrastructure in the event of sudden fires, but also a mainstay of biodiversity, positively influencing the immediate surroundings.
Retention reservoirs are finally an opportunity to eliminate urban heat islands, because, as scientists have proven2, each properly designed retention reservoir makes it possible to maintain a lower air temperature compared to sidewalks or concrete parking lots. Ponds are a natural refuge for birds or small animals, which maintains biodiversity.
Another important factor in the fight against heat islands are flower meadows, which are becoming an interesting alternative to monoculture urban lawns. It is important to leave meadows uncut during the highest temperatures. In this way, they become a natural reservoir of biologically active tissue preventing the drying of the litter and soil, and thus fighting drought.
Rain gardens are also solutions found in many places around the world, it is crucial to select the species of the so-called hydrophytes, which have a greater ability to accumulate water, which makes them more effective in enduring long periods of drought and high temperatures.
Creating green and blue infrastructure are solutions also introduced by Hadart Ltd. Designers and the executive team, using the latest solutions and selecting materials adapted to the location of small retention and the investor’s budget, are able to support effective ways to irrigate greenery without overloading water supply networks.
The problem is so important that more and more municipalities in the summer decide to temporarily limit the watering of lawns, so that households (kitchens and bathrooms) have priority in access to tap water.
Retention technologies are often low-cost systems that help collect rainwater in deeper layers of soil, enabling its gradual release into the phytosphere, i.e. shrubs, trees or lawns. They act as a reservoir of water hidden from the human eye, which can be used by green areas during long periods of drought. Each of us can invest in a small retention by purchasing commonly available rainwater tanks, which are enough to be placed under gutters, next to buildings. Finally, thanks to the terrain, we can inspire the collection of water in basins or depressions in the green area, where natural ponds can be created. However, it is worth supporting nature and using the experience of experts in strengthening the bottom surface or using solutions aimed at drawing water with pumps from such a water reservoir for the purpose of irrigating larger areas.
If the fight against drought keeps you awake at night and you are afraid that small rainwater tanks won’t solve your problems, you can contact Hadart. Experts will advise, answer questions, and if you need a project and a contractor – they provide full support.
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2Cor J. et al., Are urban water bodies really cooling?, Urban Climate, Vol. 32, June 2020.
Building urban resilience with nature