The Long-Term Hydraulic Efficiency of Green Infrastructure under Sea Level: Performance of Raingardens, Swales and Permeable Pavement in New Orleans

Floris Boogaard, Daan Rooze, Roelof Stuurman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Greater New Orleans is surrounded by wetlands, the Mississippi River and two lakes. Excess rain can only be drained off with pumping systems or by evaporation due to the bowl-like shape of a large part of the city. As part of the solution to make New Orleans climate adaptive, green infrastructure has been implemented that enable rainfall infiltration and evapotranspiration of stored water after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The long-term efficiency of infiltrating water under sea level with low permeable soils and high groundwater tables is often questioned. Therefore, research was conducted with the full-scale testing method measuring the infiltration capacity of 15 raingardens and 6 permeable pavements installed in the period 2011–2022. The results show a high variation of empty times for raingardens and swales: 0.7 to 54 m/d. The infiltration capacity decreased after saturation (ca 30% decrease in empty time after refilling storage volume) but all the tested green infrastructure met the guideline to be drained within 48 h. This is in contrast with the permeable pavement: only two of the six tested locations had an infiltration capacity higher than the guideline 10 inch/h (254 mm/h). The results are discussed with multiple stakeholders that participated in ClimateCafe New Orleans. Whether the results are considered unacceptable depends on a number of factors, including its intended purpose, site specific characteristics and most of all stakeholder expectations and perceptions. The designing, planning and scheduling of maintenance requirements for green infrastructure by stormwater managers can be carried out with more confidence so that green infrastructure will continue to perform satisfactorily over the intended design life and can mitigate the effects of heavy rainfall and droughts in the future.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLand
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2023

Keywords

  • green Infrastructure
  • hydraulic performance
  • permeable pavement
  • raingarden
  • swales

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