‘Green Roads for Water’ Meshes Transportation With Water Conservation

Simple, sometimes ancient designs can transform roadways into environmental conservation tools.

1 minute read

December 29, 2023, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Paved rural road in developing country with water on either side.

Green Roads for Water / Green Roads for Water

In an article from Yale Environment 360 republished in Wired, Ben Goldfarb, author of Crossings (one of Planetizen’s Top Planning Books of 2023), describes how new methods for greening roadways can help turn impermeable roads into environmental assets.

Goldfarb outlines a program titled Green Roads for Water built on the concept of using roads “to direct and collect water in desirable locations, rather than undesirable ones.” As the article explains, “The techniques tend to be astonishingly simple. Gentle earthen ridges called crossbars guide water off roads and toward irrigation ditches. ‘Borrow pits’ left after the excavation of gravel can be repurposed as rainwater collection ponds. In Bangladesh, engineers have deployed gated culverts to channel floodwaters into rice paddies.”

The program has spread rapidly in developing countries alongside “a wave of construction that could produce more than 15 million miles of paved roads by mid-century and tens of millions of miles of unpaved roads.” Using Green Roads strategies can help mitigate the negative impacts of new roads and prevent them from disrupting local ecosystems.

Saturday, December 23, 2023 in Wired

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