A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia has found that Alberta, Canada, is embracing cutting-edge, alternative stormwater management technologies.
According to an article by the Calgary Herald, the study was designed as a tool to assist governments with incorporating low-impact developments (LID) into urban planning. LID refers to site design practices that reduce the impact of water runoff and allow the water cycle to flow more smoothly.
According to the article, Canadian storm water management systems are facing many challenges, including climate change, aging infrastructure and urbanization. But, many developers in Alberta aren’t waiting for government intervention. They are implementing cutting-edge technologies and designs on their own.
Qualico Communities of Harmony, a new master-planned lake and golf community in Calgary’s Springbank area, is one of these areas that demonstrates cutting-edge sustainability features and utilizes an integrated water strategy.
All water in Harmony is handled through a series of catchment areas that lead to medium-sized wetland areas, which then lead to larger-sized wetland areas. The storm water is filtered through natural grasses, mud and sand.
The water flows from the wetlands into the man-made lake, where it is filtered further and then ozonated. An onsite water treatment plant then cleans the water using a bio-membrane filtration system. The design creates a beautiful nature-filled space for residents and attracts wildlife and birds, while efficiently filtering, and cleaning storm water.
Another place using water-conserving practices is the community of Artesia, by Brookfield Residential. The community is more than 50% green space with pathways, water features, ponds and private amenities.
LID initiatives include a system of bioswales to filter water naturally. The shallow, landscaped depressions capture, treat and filter storm water runoff as it moves downstream. These bioswales also recharge groundwater, which is then used to irrigate all of the community’s common areas and home sites, saving over 15 million gallons of water a year.