Man­ag­ing stormwa­ter in city is im­por­tant

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - National -

It’s im­por­tant to high­light, un­der­line and bold the first so­lu­tion pro­posed in Robert Weimar’s Jan. 27 Fo­rum piece, “Record Rain­fall Poses Big Prob­lems for Pitts­burgh,” for ad­dress­ing our re­gion’s press­ing stormwa­ter is­sue: We must stop as much wa­ter as pos­si­ble be­fore it goes into our sew­ers.

The re­mark­able amount of rain that fell in 2018 should serve as a re­minder that Pitts­burgh strug­gles with its most abun­dant re­source. This is true for av­er­age and record-set­ting years alike — even now, as we re­cently faced soggy, 50-de­gree Fe­bru­ary days.

When rain falls on Pitts­burgh, of­ten it fun­nels di­rectly into our sew­ers. How­ever, a real move­ment has be­gun to lever­age our city’s great as­sets to not only ab­sorb stormwa­ter, but to cel­e­brate and ben­e­fit from it. Through the ef­forts of the City of Pitts­burgh, ALCOSAN, PWSA and non­profit mem­bers of the Greenspace Al­liance, among oth­ers, we are us­ing Pitts­burgh’s thou­sands of acres of park­land and miles of tree­lined streets to bet­ter man­age stormwa­ter.

In­vest­ing in parks and greenspaces (green in­fra­struc­ture) over gray in­fra­struc­ture (sew­ers and cis­terns) has far-reach­ing pos­i­tive im­pacts. Parks and greenspaces are not just stormwa­ter sponges — they en­hance our qual­ity of life through bet­ter air qual­ity, cooler cities and more beau­ti­ful com­mu­ni­ties.

We may not see an­other year with nearly five feet of rain, but we should an­tic­i­pate more pre­cip­i­ta­tion with our chang­ing cli­mate. Man­ag­ing stormwa­ter means fewer flooded base­ments, more sta­ble hill­sides and cleaner rivers. With the right in­vest­ment, it could also mean a health­ier, more liv­able Pitts­burgh. HEATHER SAGE


The writer is the di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity projects for the Pitts­burgh Parks Con­ser­vancy.

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