STORMWATER AND LANDSCAPES EDUCATION (swale)

Stormwater and Landscapes Education (SWALE) is a special focus of The Valley Green Journal, created to bring together a diverse network of groups working to keep rain and snow where they belong, in the ground where the preciciptation lands.

This online network will guide you to some of the most cutting edge developments going on that are concerned with precipitation. I believe this is the most important environmental opportunity that we have for making a real positive difference for where we live and for the globe. 

 

The New Water Paradigm is a way of re-thinking our rainwater management that recognizes that all the rain and snow that falls on our lands must be soaked up in the land in order to restore soils and vegetation, but even important, to restore local climates. Take a moment and think about how much stormwater is immediately shunted to flood our streams and rivers via storm drains and impervious surfaces such as roads and rooftops. It is a huge amount! Massive amounts of rainfall also run off crop fields and deforested timberlands. Moreover unvegetated surfaces heat up quckly in the sun, contributing directly to global warming, while vegetated areas can actually cool the earth through nature's climate moderation.

 

Water for the Recovery of the Climate-A New Water Paradigm, is the title of a very readable text, translated from the findings of a group of European researchers, that will inform you about the New Water Paradigm. Click on THE NEW WATER PARADIGM.

 

Below is a summary chart of the Old Water Paradigm vs. the New Water Paradigm, compiled from pp.72-73 of the book.

 

A Comparison of starting points and approaches according to the old and the new water paradigm

Old water paradigm

New water paradigm

The water on land does not influence global

warming, which is caused by the growth in the

volume of greenhouse gases produced by human

activity.

An important factor in global warming may be the

change in the water cycle caused by the drying and

subsequent warming of continents through human

activity.

The subject of research is the impact of global

warming on the water cycle.

The subject of research is the impact of changes in

the water cycle on global warming.

Urbanization, industrialisation and economic

exploitation of a country has minimal impact on the

water cycle.

Urbanization, industrialisation and economic

exploitation of a country (over about 40% of the

area of the continents) has a fundamental impact on

the influence of the water cycle.

The impact of humanity on the water cycle is

negligible and changes in the cycle cannot be

reversed by human activity.

The impact of humanity on the water cycle is at

present considerable and its changes can go in both

directions.

Adverse climatic trends will increase, mitigation

can perhaps be expected within a horizon of

centuries.

If the new approach to water is applied, a possible

recovery of the climate can be expected within

decades.

Interest in the large water cycle, which seems

difficult to influence, is dominant while the

significance of the small water cycle is trivialized.

Interest in the small water cycle dominates.

 

The reason for extreme weather effects is global

warming .

The reason for extreme weather effects are changes

in the water cycle.

Global warming and extreme weather effects are

inextricably linked.

 

Global warming can exist without extremes of

weather, extremes of weather can exist without

global warming.

Global warming is the main climatic problem for

humanity.

Extremes of weather are the main climatic problem

for humanity.

Vegetation is not ideal from the viewpoint of global

warming because it has a low albedo (reflectivity);

water vapor again increases the greenhouse effect.

Water and vegetation alleviate unwanted

temperature differences; cloudiness moderates the

intensity of solar radiation falling on the Earth's

surface.

Speaks about the atmosphere as a greenhouse

covering of the Earth.

Speaks about the atmosphere as a protective

covering for the Earth.

Rising ocean levels are a result of melting icebergs.

Rising ocean levels are a result of melting glaciers

on land, but also of a decrease in soil moistures,

levels of groundwater and the state of other waters

on landmasses.

Rainwater is an inconvenience and needs to be

quickly removed.

Rainwater is an asset that needs to be retained in

soil/plants[1]

The main source and reserve of water is surface

water.

The main source and reserve of water is

groundwater.

There is an impersonal attitude by owners and users

of land (citizens, companies and offices) towards

rainwater in a territory.

A change in the anonymous approach to rainwater

on an individual's land and the creation of a spirit of

shared responsibility for water resources.

Water is used only once for one purpose and then is

sluiced away.

Water can be used for more purposes, then purified

and recycled[2]

Water supplied to communities primarily through a

system of mains with "potable" quality water.

Water supplied through a system divided into

potable and utility water.

Mutual isolation of public policies in relation to

water.

Policies in relation to water are based on a thorough

perception of water in the scope of a functioning

water cycle in a country.

A sectoral approach to managing water resources

on land.

Integrated management of water resources in a

territory.

 

 

 

[1]A Paradigm Shift for Water Management". Rocky Mountain Institute, www.rmi.org

[2] ibid.

 

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