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These are the core principles agreed upon by our subcommittee of expert engineers, designers, and administrators
Settlement patterns matter.
The acreage consumed by sprawl is a terrible impact on the environment. The combination of compact development and natural land preservation can reduce sprawl.
All scales should be addressed, from site to watershed.
Current approaches focus on the site and usually ignore impacts at the watershed scale. This can favor sprawl and make it harder to infill or build compact urbanism.
Both per-acre and per-capita impacts need to be considered.
Current approaches focus on per-acre impacts, which encourages low density. Per-capita measurements recognize the inherent benefits of urban density.
Context-sensitive design and regulations are needed to support good urbanism.
These tools tailor rainwater solutions to their immediate context. They can create beautiful and active built environments, instead of the awkward and subfunctional insertions common to more conventional approaches.
Employ community-based best management practices.
The flexibility to use shared and offsite solutions can ease the burden on small and dense sites, and can promote larger, more contiguous parklands with higher ecological function.
Use hydrology science, not arbitrary half measures.
Some systems and regulations try to circumvent scientific rigor with politically negotiated settlements and dumbed-down calculations. While this may be slightly easier, it can put excessive demands on dense sites, with little scientific justification.
Use a generalist approach based on durable principles.
The industry's concerns tend to fluctuate, latching onto one or two solutions (such as onsite infiltration) to the exclusion of all the other tools that make up a full toolkit of rainwater management practices.
Rainwater-in-Context welcomes support and participants at all levels, and seeks new ideas to pursue and extend its agenda. For news, discussion, and debate, contact rainwater (at) cnu.org to join the Rainwater-In-Context listserv.