July 18, 2015 09:35

Urban Streams Gaining Momentum

In Tucson, Arizona, it is now possible to get a permit allowing one to cut into a curb. This is in large part due to Brad Lancaster, a sustainability guru whose efforts to improve residential stormwater retention in the city have paid off. Now, Van Clothier, a fellow stormwater harvesting expert and owner of Stream Dynamics, Inc., is trying to persuade the city of Las Cruces, New Mexico, to let him do the same.

Clothier’s methods require delicacy and are certainly not one-size-fits-all. When asked about widespread application of his work, Clothier said it is “extremely site-specific. It’s like asking me how a dress would look on a woman I’ve never met and know nothing about.” Water must be diverted early and its momentum managed, and the properties in question must have lawns lower than the street and their houses.

Clothier’s company recently got the go-ahead from the New Mexico Environmental Department to proceed on a $138,000 grant involving 80 water harvesting projects in the Silver City area. Clothier is hopeful for the project, saying it could prove “a practical model for other urban streams in New Mexico.”


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