Thursday, April 14, 2016

Canada's Vancouver city considers capturing rainwater as resource

The City of Vancouver in western Canada is looking into a plan to collect and treat rainwater and turn it to a resource, according to a report to the city council on Wednesday.

The staff are seeking 1.5 million Canadian dollars (1.15 million US dollars) to create a green infrastructure team that would push for a citywide network of rain gardens, permeable pavements and green roofs to capture 90 percent of the rain that falls in the city before it pollutes nearby waters.

"Rainfall that lands on public and private urban spaces picks up pollutants including hydrocarbons, heavy metals, sediment, organics and fertilizers such as animal waste, and litter," the report said.

"Urban runoff conveys these pollutants through storm sewers to surrounding waterbodies,"the report said.

Staff of the Vancouver city said rain should only hit pipes, road-side gutters and overland flow paths before travelling through green infrastructure during extreme storms, which bring about 10 percent of the city's annual rainfall.

Over the past few years, Vancouver has been suffering from snow shortage in winter and drought in summer due to climate change and warm weather.

In July 2015, the city moved to Stage 3 water restrictions, the highest measure for the first time since 2003, which bans all lawn sprinkling with treated drinking water plus other water conservation measures.

Facing such a challenge, the city of Vancouver thus decided to create a green infrastructure team to turn natural rainfall into a resource.

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