Permeable pavement eyed to solve flooding

AN ENVIRONMENTAL group is proposing that the city government should consider permeable pavements as a solution to floods.

Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) environmental research specialist Lem Manalo said on Monday that this kind of green infrastructure is able to combat stormwater runoff volumes, floods, clogs and atmospheric heat.

“Permeable paving is the use of various pervious surface materials that allow rainwater to pass through and drain into the soil. Pervious materials include blocks, rocks, bricks, recycled rubber, gravel, sand, etc,” Manalo said. He added that this design maximizes water retention capacity of soil under roads and pavements and also help recharge groundwater while preventing soil erosion problems. It also allows urban vegetation to grow and reduces urban heat effect during summer.

Manalo said that commercial establishments in the city, for instance, can be creative with the designs through various materials (like gravel and sand fill or molded bricks usage). He said that his kind of paving is a viable alternative to fully concrete designs used for parking spaces, pedestrians, and walkways.

Manalo said that they are currently conducting a research on costs and identifying places in the city where this green infrastructure can be used. When this research is published, it will be submitted to the city’s engineering and planning and development offices, lobbying for a law that will require open spaces that promote this design.

The research is expected to be published by June and it will be launched through a forum.

According to IDIS, there are a handful of big and small establishments in the city already using permeable pavements but Davao has a long way to go to.

Martin Obrero, a forester and one of the judges of this year’s Lunhaw Awards (the city’s annual award to recognize and reward Dabawenyos implementing sustainable green and eco-friendly initiatives) said that concrete pavements remain a go-to choice of establishments because it’s cheaper.

“The adoption of permeable pavements will depend upon the values of the companies, individuals, and sectors whether their priority is the environment or not,” he said, mentioning that some economic choices (like fully concretized pavements and parking spaces) openly neglect the environment.

He mentioned that this idea has been brought up 30 years ago but it was not met with optimism.

“They should not have to cement entirely parking areas and sidewalks,” he said.

Last March 17, three establishments were recognized for having used this design: SM Lanang Premier’s parking spaces and fountain court plaza, Amiya Resort and Residences’ driveways and parking spaces, and Toyota Catitipan’s Earth Charter parking lot.

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