Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics with global, economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Donald Doherty makes this connection here…

The article entitled, “Philadelphia Cleans Up Storm Water with Innovative Program” was reported by National Geographic News in their June 6, 2012 Daily News. The news relates to the WRE domain of hydrology with the specific issue being the movement of storm water in the city of Philadelphia. The article is reporting news of a robbery in Philadelphia; a rain barrel was stolen from the city of Philadelphia which was provided with the city’s Green City Clean Waters program. The author, Paul McRandle, jokes that it is a good sign that a water barrel was stolen because it shows that the barrels work. The Green City Clean Water program has goals to implement green technology throughout the city to help deter water to aid the combined sewer system to not overflow. They plan to use green roofs, porous pavement, storm water planters, rain gardens, as well as rain barrels. The program hopes to keep one inch of rain water out of the sewer system in a twenty four hour period, which is estimated to be roughly all of the waterfall for eighty percent of the storms that occur in Philadelphia. To my knowledge this article is accurately reporting on the program occurring in Philadelphia as the EPA invested $400,000 into the program according to EPA.gov. Phillywatersheds.org also shows the progress that has been made on the installation of different storm water tree trenches as well as green roofs.


Figure 1 – A storm planter in Philadelphia

This article shows how hydrology relates to economics, society, and the environment. Economics can be related to almost any project as the majority of projects require funds to bring the project into reality. In this case EPA made this project possible with their investment, they are hoping that the investment will lead to an extremely positive outcome, leading to many more cities starting similar programs. Society is affected by this because the people of Philadelphia have to worry about the effect that extreme water storms may have on the water that they use every day. This article relates more to the effect on the environment because the storm sewer system releases the water into a river, causing the river to sometimes be polluted with sewage. This affects any organisms that require water that live in the area because their only water source could be unhealthy for them.