Urban surface water runoff on Dalhousie University’s Studley campus (Halifax, N.S.)
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As an urban environment continues to grow and densify, consequences such as increased surface water runoff become ever more prominent as urban landscapes seal off previously permeable surfaces. Stormwater management infrastructure has been developed to drain rainfall from the urban environment. Thus, surface runoff is discharged in high volumes into alternate systems, leading to landscape damage, enhanced delivery of contaminants to receiving water bodies, and immense stress on water treatment facilities during high rainfall events. Moreover, should drainage systems fail or become inundated with water, urban residents are faced with flooding. Here, a geographic information system (ArcGIS) was employed to geospatially assess Dalhousie’s Studley campus by surface area and type. 65% of Studley campus is composed of impermeable surface material. Utilizing rainfall data for the 2016 calendar year, runoff volume is approximated to be 2.6111 x 105 m3. While 35% of the campus is permeable, the remainder is made up of roads, sidewalks, and parking lots (29%), buildings (31%) and recreational surfaces (5%). Furthermore, alternate precipitation management methods, such as sustainable drainage systems and low impact developments, are considered to combat urban surface impermeability, with locations for potential sites indicated herein. The impermeable regions yield 5 high risk zones suited for management strategies.