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Expert voice: The importance of storm water

April 13, 2009

Scott Johnston
Principal of Johnston Design Group
the architecture firm that oversaw the Cliffs Cottage design

Too often, builders think of stormwater as a liability to be avoided, perhaps as a potential flood or a lawsuit from the owner of a piece of property nearby. He pointed out that stormwater management has become part of the designer’s mindset at the planning stages of a project, as they incorporate gray water usage and groundwater pollution prevention into early site planning.

“Sustainable design is thinking of rainwater as a resource,” said Johnston. “When you start thinking that way, it really affects the selection of a lot of things but particularly paving products.”

Johnston said that well designed permeable pavement systems provide sufficient surface water infiltration and water storage – and products like the Pine Hall Brick paver provide designers with a method to capture peak runoff pollutants from stormwater, reducing ‘first flush’ pollutants from entering lakes, streams and storm drains.

In addition, Johnston said sustainable design will become more and more important in the not-too-distant future.

“We are in a 10-year drought, especially in the South,” Johnston said. “Over the years, we have taken rainwater for granted, because we have had ample drinking water. We don’t have that anymore and that has really raised the awareness of the need to treat water as a resource.”

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