When you are developing a plot of land, there are so many elements you need to keep in mind. However, one thing you should certainly consider is how your development engages with the surrounding environment. In particular, you want to think carefully about rain runoff and its potential to cause issues such as polluting nearby streams, eroding their banks, causing floods or creating other issues.
There are several things you can do to minimise these threats, but here are some ideas you should consider:
1. Maintain as much vegetation cover as possible.
When at the drawing board creating the plan for your development, try to maintain as much vegetation cover as possible. When it rains, water soaks into the soil of vegetative areas. There, it provides the plants with the moisture they need to grow, and excess water percolates into the ground water.
If possible, leave patches of forest in the middle of your development, create large green spaces and once you start selling lots to home owners, encourage them to build tall structures rather than structures with large footprints as that increases the amount of grass or other vegetation in the area. If you like, as you are writing the covenants for your development, you may even want to mandate a specific type of vegetation, or you may want to encourage the use of natural plants over grass that needs lots of fertilisers, which ultimately can be harmful to nearby waterways.
2. Don't connect impervious areas to waterways and slow the flow of runoff between these areas.
When deciding where you want to place roads, bicycle paths, driveways and parking lots in your development, try not to link impervious areas to waterways. When rainwater hits impervious areas, the water beads up on the surface rather than being absorbed, and it runs into nearby waterways, potentially carrying toxins from fertilisers, from motor oil that drips onto these surfaces or from other sources. To that end, do not directly connect any impervious areas to waterways. For example, if you are creating a walking path next to a river, make sure you have a decent size chunk of vegetation covered land between it and the river.
Also try to slow their indirect connection through storm drains as well. If runoff moves from a parking lot, for example, to a stream through a storm drain, the process is very fast and can happen in a matter of minutes. This can cause flooding that simply wouldn't happen if the area were undeveloped and in its natural state. Luckily, you can slow this process down with the right techniques.
For example, instead of letting the water run into to storm drain, use a different drainage approach in your development. Namely, build grassy swales next to parking lots or other impervious areas and let the water drain there so it can soak into the soil. Alternatively, if you want to use storm drains, connect a basin to the drain, and set it up so that the water drains at a rate similar to how it would drain naturally before you created the development.Share