UBC Undergraduate Research

Water management through rain gardens : a social, environmental and economic analysis Amiralaei, Emma; Attieh, Ahmed; Baumann, Robert; Eto, Kome; Ndeke, Othusitse


An investigation has been carried out in this report regarding rain gardens. Rain gardens offer a unique and sustainable solution when dealing with large amounts of runoff water. A depth analysis has been carried out in this report regarding the effectiveness of rain gardens to deal with this problem. Due to high amounts of rain in Vancouver, the University of British Columbia (UBC) has chosen to build a rain garden next to the newly built alumni building (being the lowest point on campus). The rain garden is twenty meters cubed in area (4m x 5m) and can hold vast amounts of water at any given time. The bowl shaped rain garden must be built at the lowest point on campus in order to effectively collect the runoff. Soil selection is an important parameter since the soil used effects the water absorption ability of the rain garden. The optimal composition of soil to be used in order to maximize water absorption are as follows; 25-35% Sand, 50% or more compost and 15-25% native soil. Another important parameter to consider is plant selection. During this analysis specific requirements such as grass/flower ratio, height and sunlight availability have been conducted and a list of plants with the right properties has been included in this report. The final analysis conducted in this report is the economical aspect of building a rain garden. The rain garden will cost a total three thousand dollars (including plants, soil and design). In prospective this is a minimal amount to pay in order to integrate a working sustainable solution to UBC’s water runoff problem. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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