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Report Urges Houston To Incentivize “Green Infrastructure”

Environmental groups have a plan to manage storm water and increase green space.
Read the Texas Stormwater Scorecard below.

A new report from Environment Texas ranks Houston fourth out of five Texas cities in storm water management. The report grades cities based off of their usage of green infrastructure and low-impact development practices.

The report urges cities in Texas to place priority on green infrastructure, and many buildings around Houston have incorporated natural water solutions into their design.

Take a few flights of stairs to the top of Rice University’s utilities building, and you find that the rooftop is covered in grass. Richard Johnson is Rice University’s sustainability director. He says roofs like the these can keep runoff from accumulating on the ground too quickly. “So it draws out the time at which the water runs off, which is what we want, we want the water to run off slowly,” he said.

 

Dr. Phil Bedient (Rice SSPEEDD Center), Brian Zabcik (Environment Texas), Scott Jones (Galveston Bay Foundation), and Julie Hendricks (AIA-Houston) speak about green infrastructure at Rice University.

 

Green infrastructure projects aren’t limited to roofs. Some people have “pocket prairies” alongside their homes, which advocates like Brian Zabcik of Environment Texas say can filter potentially harmful flood waters. “Water quality is a really big rising concern because when runoff flows over surfaces, it picks up whatever is on those surfaces,” he said. Flood waters have been found to contain high levels of toxic chemicals.

Green infrastructure projects are already in place around the city, but Zabcik says as Houston prepares for the next flood the city should provide incentives build out natural solutions.

 

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