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The end of the pipe : integrated stormwater management and urban design in the Queen’s ditch Murdoch, Scott Philip

Abstract

The Queen's Ditch is located three kilometers north of Comox on Vancouver Island and is roughly 1300 hectares in size. In 1998, the watershed experienced a 1 in 200-year rain event that flooded much of the lower watershed. The Regional District of Comox-Strathcona is responsible for land-use planning in the watershed and initiated an investigation into the stormwater runoff problem. This thesis is divided into two components: a planning phase to identify problems with watershed hydrology; and a design phase to illustrate urban design that manages stormwater runoff. Watershed assessments were conducted at the watershed and sub-watershed scale. Watershed assessments were descriptive and helped predict future trends in land-use change. These assessments were not able to identify site specific problems. Sub-watershed assessment was useful at quantifying and identifying stormwater problems. Planners should use sub-watershed hydrological performance to guide land-use planning decisions and assess hydrological and ecological effects of development. The planning phase provides planners with a process to prioritize candidate areas for development, conservation, and rehabilitation. The design phase compares urban design and stormwater performance standards of a proposed conventional design with a sustainable design. The goal of the sustainable design was to mimic the site's natural hydrology to help reduce off-site runoff, and to ensure adequate groundwater recharge. Objectives of the sustainable design were to preserve natural vegetation; maintain x>£ time of concentration; reduce and disconnect impervious surfaces,, and treatment first flush flows. Comparisons of conventional and sustainable designs indicate that stormwater runoff and pollution can be managed at the site level. The sustainable design provides forty-seven percent more dwelling units and exports no stormwater. The sustainable design achieves this without an expensive stormdrain infrastructure. Stormwater is managed at the site level using small infiltration depressions and swales. The design works with the natural hydrological processes of the site to generate a hydrologically sustainable design. Simulated stormwater outputs were used to test and size infiltration ponds and to assess flooding risks. The sustainable design effectively manages stormwater production, runoff, and pollution from storm events ranging from polluted first flush flows to large, flood producing rainstorms.

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