Does distributed green infrastructure or centralized green infrastructure have a greater effect on urban stormwater flow & pollutant loads?
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Urban flooding during and after large storm events is an issue that current infrastructure cannot accommodate. Increases in urbanization and development, and therefore impervious surfaces, have led to significant increases in stormwater runoff. An urban area with 75-100% impervious cover has, on average, 45% more stormwater runoff than natural ground cover (U.S. EPA, 2003). This increase is predominantly attributed to reduced absorption and infiltration that results from a lack of vegetation and natural ground cover but can also be attributed to altered hydrologic flow patterns (Walsh et al., 2012). Current infrastructure techniques are constructed to fit the hydrologic flow to the built environment, but the altered flow pattern contributes to increased velocity and quantity of runoff. The increased velocity has subsequent consequences on the water body that collects runoff at outflow, including erosion, vegetation damage, and habitat disruption (Desert Water Harvesting Initiative, 2013).