Infiltration Rates of Green Infrastructure Curb-Cut Basins: Finding Balance between Function and Aesthetic
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIn arid regions, sustainable water management is critical for a future facing resource scarcity. The city of Tucson, Arizona has implemented green infrastructure designs along streets and right-of-way areas in order to collect the untapped resource of stormwater. Neighborhood-scale green infrastructure projects, in the form of curb-cuts connected to rainwater harvesting basins, successfully capture polluted runoff and create appreciable green spaces. However, after nearly a decade, some neighborhood green infrastructure basins appear actively cared for, while others appear highly degraded, as maintenance has been left to nearby homeowners. This research assesses how maintenance may influence the performance of Tucson’s neighborhood green infrastructure, and what maintenance techniques may or may not be necessary. Infiltration rates, measured with a soil corer air permeameter, serves as a metric for basin function, while a qualitative evaluation of the basin’s appearance gauges the apparent care. The results found neighborhood curb-cut basins in poor condition have a statistically significant increase in average saturated hydraulic conductivity of the soil. Overall, the drainage of well-maintained basins underperformed relative to neglected basins. Traditional maintenance of curb-cut basins may be unnecessary for the effective infiltration of stormwater runoff. To further support soil structure and permeability, design recommendations include increasing organic mulch and vegetation density. The aesthetics of non-maintained curb-cut basins appear to be problematic for homeowners who deem the neglected basin to be an eyesore. Community engagement strategies that encourage cooperative neighborhood management may improve the aesthetic value of curb-cut basins. This research provides recommendations for neighborhood green infrastructure maintenance and outreach that supports both satisfactory infiltration rates and curbside appeal.
Degree ProgramGraduate College