How Cities can Transform Water Woes into Resource Solutions

By path2positive

Urban sprawl and climate change create an environmental double-threat for many cities throughout the United States. Increased infrastructure, housing projects and roads prevent the slow, natural, absorption of rainwater into the ground, and often require vast networks of drainage corridors to disperse water as quickly as possible. This, in conjunction with more intense and more pervasive weather events, creates a real problem for cities.

In Houston, city leaders are now addressing this through a series of new green infastructure projects that will reclaim nearly 200 miles of natural waterways, and thousands of acres of green-spaces. The goal: to provide rainfall a place to naturally reincorporate back into the ecosystem, thereby mitigating the damaging effects of flooding.

The project is about more than water. The new green spaces will provide economic dividends, drive property values up, and will help naturally filter pollutants from tainted water sources. The new project is also facilitating new levels of community engagement—connecting residents with their municipal officials to plan for disasters before they happen. When city officials lead, residents respond, and the municipal leaders in Houston provide an excellent example of community preparedness in the drive towards the Path to Positive Communities.

Cities are Finally Treating Water as a Resource, Not a Nuisance

By Erica Gies | Ensia | September 1, 2015

Memorial Day barbecues and parades were thwarted this year in Houston when a massive storm dumped more than 10 inches of rain in two days, creating a Waterworld of flooded freeways, cars, houses and businesses, leaving several people dead and hundreds in need of rescue.

But it was a predictable disaster. That’s because, thanks to a pro-development bent, the magnitude of stormwater runoff has increased dramatically as Houston has sprawled across 600 or so square miles of mud plain veined with rivers, sealing under asphalt the floodplains and adjoining prairies that once absorbed seasonal torrential rains and planting development in harm’s way. Land subsidence from groundwater pumping and oil and gas development and, now, sea level rise and more frequent and severe storms are applying additional pressure from Galveston Bay, which sits just east of the city of 2.2 million.

Read More


Stay connected and get updates from Path to Positive.


You May Also Like

October 20, 2022

At the first sign of mosquito bites, it is common for people to run to Walmart for repellent. A few sprays later and the problem...

Read More

September 16, 2022

ACLA22 Winner, Schools for Climate Action – Spotlights Climate, Youth Activism and the Mental Health Crisis In the latest episode of a three part series,...

Read More

August 18, 2022

In the second episode of the three-part series, You Can Do This: Replicable Models for Local Climate Action, ecoAmerica hosts American Climate Leadership Award Finalist...

Read More


Path to Positive is a program of ecoAmerica


© ecoAmerica 2006 – 2022 The contents of this website may be shared and used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives 4.0 International License.