Stormwater management

Vincent Lee, global water skills leader at Arup’s New York office, highlights how the company’s study of New York’s impervious area will help the city better understand and manage the impact of stormwater.

New York City.

To effectively manage water across an entire city, it is important to properly understand the environment it sits within – and crucially where the water will go when it rains.

It was with that in mind that the New York City Department of Environmental Planning and Analysis (BEPA) sought out Arup’s expertise to develop a city-wide impervious area geographic information system (GIS) layer. Put in its simplest terms, it was a study to help the DEP understand the make-up of the land across the city, and identify which areas will soak up water, and which impervious areas it will simply run off and potentially cause flooding problems.

New York City is commonly referred to as a “concrete jungle” due to thousands of square miles of impervious surfaces. However, a significant amount of work has been done by the city in reducing these surfaces which cause significant flooding. One such programme is the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan from 2010, which set a course to manage stormwater much more effectively and sustainably.

While an impermeability map was prepared over a decade ago, there have been significant advances in data, map resolution, and remote sensing techniques. Arup’s work was to provide this information – in forensic detail – and ensure DEP could continually update this crucial water management data going forward. This would enable DEP to validate their programme and also provide a defendable source of data that DEP can use to drive stormwater policy to improve the quality of the city’s waterways while reducing the flood impacts in its neighbourhoods.

The full article is published on the latest Water & Wastewater Asia Sep/Oct 2021 issue. To continue reading, click here.