Compact development can deliver tangible benefits for the environment – reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, curbing the flow of polluted runoff into streams and lakes, and protecting natural areas and agricultural lands. By adopting strong policies to mitigate the local impacts of greater density, such as green infrastructure to manage stormwater, Austin can develop in a way that will bring lasting environmental benefits.
Reports indicate that flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey spilled at least 31 million gallons of raw sewage in Texas, but likely spilled far more.1 That’s the equivalent of every person in Houston flushing a toilet seven times.* This pollution threatens human health.
The floodwaters of Hurricane Harvey have receded, but the work to clean up in the storm’s aftermath has just begun. One thing left in Harvey’s wake is a tremendous amount of debris -- people’s belongings and furniture, parts of buildings, trees, and boats destroyed during the hurricane
Rain is one of Texas’s greatest resources, but it also causes some of our most serious problems. Too much produces flooding and erosion, too little produces droughts and aquifer depletion, and dirty runoff produces water pollution. These problems are becoming worse as more of the state’s land is covered with buildings and roads that prevent rain from soaking into the ground where it falls. That’s why more Texans are using building and landscaping features that can retain and reuse stormwater onsite. These features include rain gardens, green roofs, permeable pavement, and rain cisterns, and are known as Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) and Low Impact Development (LID).
Environment Texas Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.