Can ‘sponge cities’ solve China’s urban flooding problem?

Source(s)
Citiscope

By Wade Shepard

Rain water is one of the world’s most wasted natural resources. Precipitation that falls upon cities typically gets expelled like a waste product, piped away via the standard complex of drainage systems.  Meanwhile cities go to great lengths to pump in water from rivers and lakes, or pump it up from aquifers that in many places are being depleted at a worrisome rate.

Three years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping offered a new way to think about this. At China’s Central Government Conference on Urbanization in 2013, Xi announced that cities should act “like sponges.” This proclamation came with substantial funding to experiment with ways cities can absorb precipitation through permeable pavements, rain gardens and wetlands, or reuse the water locally for irrigation, parks or even for drinking. It also injected a new term into the global urban design vocabulary.

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