GSI is a tool for addressing both the management of stormwater and certain impacts of climate change, like extreme heat, flooding and drought. Existing standards for using GSI to manage stormwater are largely silent, however, on its use in ameliorating the impacts of climate change, leaving local governments – those charged by the federal government with managing stormwater – scratching their heads.
This is an especially challenging problem given climate change projections. As shown in the diagram below, “[i]n general, the northern, central, and eastern regions of North America are expected to have hotter and wetter extremes and, in some regions, more overall precipitation. In western North America, future changes are generally expected to be hotter and drier, with wetter extremes.” (Climate Resilience Resources Guide, p. 16).
A new guide explores potential changes to current GSI policy, planning, operations, and maintenance practices that could ameliorate the current lack of standards and enhance the climate resilience benefits provided by GSI. It stems from a collaboration through the Exchange’s Re-grant Program between Exchange members City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County (Reid Bogert), City of Portland (Adrienne Aiona), Philadelphia Water Department (Tsega Anbessie & Stephanie Chiorean), City of Baltimore (Kimberly Grove), San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (Willis Logsdon), Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (Ryan Quinn) and Waterfront Toronto (Sonja Vangjeli). We are indebted to Reid Bogert of the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County for his leadership of the project. The Guide targets municipal staff, decision-makers, regulatory entities, and community stakeholders and can be accessed on the Exchange’s Publications Page.