Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rain causes flash flooding in SEQ (again) - A case for "Green Roofs"?

The massive downpour that drenched parts of Brisbane and SEQ on tuesday caused flash flooding around the city, disrupted roads and public transport, submerged cars and caused damage to homes and businesses.
This seems to be the usual outcome of heavy rain as the storm-water system and creeks around the city are overwhelmed.
But could these effects and the damage and financial costs they cause be eliminated or at least substantially reduced?

One potential solution to urban flash flooding are "Green Roofs" ie: roofs covered in plants. We had Geoff Wilson the convener of Green Roofs Australia talk at our TTKD meeting back in Sept 09. Green roofs have a number of benefits including producing food, acting as insulation and reducing urban heat island effects.
Importantly Green Roofs also moderate the effects of heavy rain. Green roofs absorb the rain water and act to slow down and reduce rain water run off. Slowing runoff is critical as it acts to prevent the spike in runoff after heavy rain that overwhelms storm-water systems and causes much of the flash flooding.

Due to their multiple benefits Green Roofs are becoming increasing popular overseas and have been popular in parts of Europe for decades. Perhaps it's time to seriously consider them here and try to reduce this "rain-flood-clean up damage-repeat" cycle we see here so often.

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