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Why water infrastructure is crucial for flood and stormwater management

Storms and major flooding are perennial concerns for many people in cities and towns across Australia. Heavy rainfalls can cause significant damage to businesses, parks, agriculture and people’s livelihoods, costing millions of dollars in repairs and disrupting the lives of thousands of people. While flooding cannot always be avoided – for example, in the event of unusually heavy rain – proper water infrastructure can help mitigate the effects of floods and storms, making our communities more resilient to natural disasters.

In this blog post, we’ll look at why water infrastructure is so important for flood and stormwater management.

The role of water infrastructure during storms and heavy rains

One of the most important functions of water infrastructure is to manage stormwater runoff. When it rains, stormwater systems are designed to collect rainwater and runoff from streets, parking lots and other impervious surfaces and channel it into storm drains, which then discharge it into rivers or the ocean. This helps to prevent flooding and reduces the amount of water that builds up.

During a major storm or rainfall event, it is important for stormwater drainage to be capable of handling large volumes of water quickly and efficiently. The systems must be able to move water away from populated areas and critical infrastructure; however, even the best-designed and well-maintained water infrastructure can fail at times, particularly when faced with unprecedented amounts of rain. This is when major flooding can occur.

One of the most effective ways to reduce flooding is to allow water to flow away from buildings, roads, parking lots and other impervious surfaces and into storm drains, which empty into rivers or the ocean. This helps to prevent flooding and reduces the amount of water that accumulates. In addition, proper and regular drainage system maintenance can help reduce the risk of flooding.

The impacts of floods

Flooding can have devastating impacts on both the environment and people living in the flooded community. In regard to the environmental impacts, floods can damage and destroy vegetation, wetlands and homes for animals. They can also contaminate water supplies with pollutants from roads, parks and other sources. 

For people living in the affected communities, flooding can cause

injuries, disrupt transportation and communication systems and damage property and critical infrastructure.

What would floods look like without water infrastructure?

If there was no infrastructure, floods would look very different. Most notably, without proper water infrastructure and drainage systems, urban areas would be especially vulnerable to flooding. This is because water would build up more easily and quickly if there were no levees or dams to hold it back. Flooding would be more common, larger and more destructive. There would also be no way to pump water out of flood areas, making flood recovery much more difficult.

Water infrastructure is critical for flood protection of people and property. AWD Civil are civil engineering project experts who manage and plan many water infrastructure projects in Queensland and New South Wales. To learn more about our products and services, call us at 07 3200 5766.

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