What is the Purpose?
Cities are filled with impervious surfaces that rainwater cannot penetrate through and recharge the groundwater. Precipitation runs off of impermeable surfaces such as roads, sidewalks, and parking lots, and straight into the city's storm water system. From there, the water is most likely deposited into a stream and transported somewhere further along the watershed. When storm events occur, this flooding of the storm water system can cause large amounts of erosion downstream and wastes a precious resource that could otherwise be serving the plant and soil community on the landscape.
The BRIT landscape is designed to capture as much of this precious water resource as possible during precipitation events, and then utilize it to foster the growth of the landscape.
How it Works
The parking lots at BRIT are sloped in such a way that rainfall is captured in one of the seven bioswales located between each parking area.
Bioswales are depressions in the ground that serve as storm water filtration systems using plants and soil to absorb and filter storm water as it percolates through the system.
The water that penetrates into these bioswales is held there for an hour or two where a portion of it is absorbed by the native vegetation. The remaining water is captured in a french drain that runs to the retention pond on the east side of the campus. Simmilarly, the rainwater collected on the living roof is channeled to the southwest corner of the roof and down into a cistern. 100% of BRITs irrigation water usage is drawn from these two sources; BRITscape is compelty independent from municipal water supply!
The bioswales contain a variety of plants including, greenthread, lanceleaf coreopsis, standing cypress, cutleaf daisy, white prairie clover, and scarlet sage.
The BRIT landscape is designed to conserve clean drinking water that would otherwise be used for irrigation and slow the speed of water coming off of impervious surfaces, protecting valuable ecosystems downstream from large events of erosion.