Fostering Community Participation in Storm Water Management

In a project funded by the National Science Foundation, the Sustainable Water Resources Engineering Lab, led by Franco Montalto, PhD , professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering, is partnering with community leaders to engage urban residents in timely maintenance of urban drainage systems.

Using a newly designed mobile app, the project would incentivize residents of Marlton and Camden, New Jersey — both flood-prone areas — to clean storm drains and green infrastructure (GI) inlets in their neighborhoods in advance of forecasted precipitation event. The team predicts that the just-in-time maintenance can improve the performance of the drains and GI inlets, increasing both community opinions of the pieces of infrastructure and investment in their success.

“Fostering new, meaningful opportunities for community participation in stormwater infrastructure management connects the environmental and human worlds in unique and important ways,” Montalto explained. “Projects like these build urban adaptive capacity and promote sustainability and resilience to extreme precipitation in an era of climatic change.”