An example of daylighting. Image supplied/Boffa Miskell Ltd

You might ask yourself, ‘what does all this mean for me?’ or ‘what can I gain from introducing some of these methods/features on my property?’. Putting it simply, there are four main reasons why adopting LID principles and methods on your land will be of benefit to you:

  • LID is simple and effective. Instead of large investments in complex and costly centralised stormwater infrastructure, LID allows for the integration of treatment and management measures into each lot. This involves strategic placement of distributed property level controls that can be customised to more closely mimic the natural environment. The result is a hydrologically functional landscape that generates less surface runoff, less pollution, less erosion, and less overall damage to lakes, streams, and coastal waters.

  • LID is economical. It costs less than conventional stormwater management systems to construct and maintain, in part, because of fewer pipes, fewer below-ground infrastructure requirements, and less rigidity. But the benefits do not stop there. Space once dedicated to stormwater ponds can now be used for additional development to increase lot yields or be left as is for conservation. The greater use of on-property multi-purpose landscaping/vegetation also offers human "quality of life" opportunities through offering greener neighbourhoods and contributing to the community’s overall ‘liveability’, value, sense of place, and aesthetics. Other benefits include enhanced property values and re-development potential, greater marketability, improved wildlife habitat, thermal pollution reduction, energy savings, smog reduction, enhanced wetlands protection, and decreased flooding.

  • LID is flexible. It offers a wide variety of structural and non-structural techniques to provide for both runoff quality and quantity benefits. LID works in highly urbanised constrained areas, as well as open regions and environmentally sensitive sites. Opportunities to apply LID principles and practices are practically infinite since any feature of the urban landscape can be modified to control runoff and/or reduce the introduction of pollution. In other words, LID can be used to truly create a "customised" watershed management design.

  • LID is a balanced approach. LID is an advanced, ecologically-based land development technology that seeks to better integrate the built environment with the natural environment. LID’s principles and practices allow the developed site to maintain its predevelopment water shedding and ecological functions.

Want to know more? Why not check out the links below?

Water conservation

Climate change isn’t only causing big storm events and flooding. Communities across New Zealand have experienced drought and prolonged dry weather related to changing weather patterns. Low rainfall and high temperatures can result in decreasing stream flows and low groundwater levels, which is an issue where groundwater supply is key to support an urban community.

Enhancing water quality

Stormwater runoff from urban areas delivers pollutants — including pathogens, nutrients, sediment, and heavy metals — to our streams, lakes, and beaches. In cities with combined sewer systems, high stormwater flows also can send untreated sewage into our waters. By retaining rainfall from small storms, LID practices reduce stormwater discharges. In turn, lower discharge volumes translate into reduced combined sewer overflows and lower pollutant loads.

Water quality can affect environmental health, local economy, and overall quality of life. Poor water quality can lead to beach closures, decreased recreational and commercial fishing opportunities, and poor drinking water. Maintaining and enhancing water quality is an important component of stormwater management. In addition to volume reduction, LID practices often provide water quality treatment of runoff, which can take up a lot of resources in relation to traditional stormwater systems. Filtration, combined with runoff volume reduction, significantly reduces pollutant loads that would otherwise flow to a receiving stream and eventually pollute our lakes and rivers.

Helping prevent erosion

 

During rainfall events, the flow of water in our streams and rivers can increase as much as 10 times compared to that of its natural, pre-development flow, despite the use of stormwater infrastructure, which is often not designed to treat such excess runoff volumes. As a result, in large scale events these traditional systems often fail. The danger about that is that increased stream flows during rainfall events can lead to increased erosion.

Although primarily used for water quality treatment, LID can significantly reduce on-site water run off and be designed for quantity control to help reduce erosion and stream repair.

 

Conserving water and saving money

New Zealanders use approx.160 litres of water per day (more in the summer!). About 17% of that amount is used for drinking water whereas the rest is used for irrigation, stock and industrial use.

Supplying and treating water can be a significant expense for local and regional councils. To reduce costs, councils have started promoting water conservation methods, such as LID tools (in particular to reduce outdoor water use, such as rainwater harvesting does).

Importantly, LID practices allow individual landowners and residents to reduce their Council water take and thereby save money. Given that all homeowners pay for the water they use, by introducing certain LID practices (such as rainwater and/or greywater collection), you can directly save money!

Access to water

By collecting the stormwater produced on your own property, you can ensure that you always have access to water for your garden, lawns, car washing needs or outside property maintenance, irrespective of what the Council water restrictions are. This can be particularly helpful in years of drought (which New Zealand has experienced with increasing frequency over recent years), as you would be able to water your garden as you see fit until the water restrictions lift. Bearing in mind that climate change and the expected growth rates for Waikato District mean that water is likely to be harder to come by, a simple rain barrel, rainwater tank or greywater collection system may prove crucial in years to come.

Enhancing existing stormwater management

When applied on a broad scale, LID principles can restore natural processes and ecological functions. The on-site processes that LID practices provide vary depending on the practice, but include runoff volume reduction, and the removal or treatment of contaminates. Once LID practices are established, these processes will occur naturally and enhance the existing stormwater management.

LID is flexible

LID has many benefits that can improve the efficiency of Council’s stormwater management systems. One of the main benefits of LID is that the practices can be custom-designed to meet a variety of individual tastes and needs, as well as landscape and environmental ideals/desires. All the infrastructure resides below ground, while above ground can be designed to meet your desired aesthetic preference and wallet.