With state and local funding from the U.S. federal government all but drying up in the wake of the financial turmoil of 2008-09, cities and towns have been left to face growing budget crises without much external assistance. The result of this, according to an August 23 report from Yale University's Environment 360 publication, has been that more and more local governing institutions are turning to green infrastructure to help them cut costs and avoid expensive repairs in the long run.
One of the areas identified in the piece is Seattle, Washington, which has been grappling with the environmental and economic problems that result from excessive water runoff, leading to an increase in polluted, non-drinkable water. To combat this condition, the community has begun installing roof gardens to capture rainwater before it can hit drainage pipes. Additionally, residents have been encouraged to modify their downspouts to bring the runoff back to their gardens, providing extra protection and more water for their plants. According to the article, Seattleites can be compensated up to $4,000 as reward for their efforts.
Katherine Baer, who works with low-impact living advocacy group American Rivers, which assists towns as they implement green infrastructure, spoke with the publication about the necessity of these actions as communities struggle to make ends meet.
"We're at a tipping point,” Baer told the source. "We're going to see a lot more of these practices that protect, restore or replicate natural functions, as cities grapple not only with water quality, but with livability and climate adaptation."
Other areas, such as New York City, have already begun reaping the benefits of utilizing green infrastructure and technology. Their efforts may, in time, inspire many more local governments to take similar types of action.