Several small American towns are relying on permeable pavers for effective water management and flood control.

Harwood Heights, a small village in Cook County, Illinois with a population of 8612 (Census 2010) is working with Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) to construct two permeable alley way systems. Taking a decisive step towards a greener, more sustainable future, Harwood Heights is creating these new alley ways for the purpose of preventing flooding and stormwater runoff. It is estimated that these two permeable alley ways will retain a whopping 364830.42 litres of stormwater runoff per rain event.

A $28 million police station built in Arlington Heights, Illinois with sustainability in mind features a car park paved with permeable pavers, and believed to store 340687.061 litres of stormwater.

Ellicott City in Maryland suffered from severe flooding, prompting immediate action from engineers, sentimentalists and state officials. Ellicott City implemented rain gardens, permeable pavers and bio-retention cells in order to reduce flooding and prevent pollution.

Allentown, Pennsylvania has just implemented a ‘stormwater credit system’ in which individuals who install storm water collection/management systems such as permeable pavers, dry ponds and wetlands will receive a large discount on their stormwater fee (A stormwater fee is a fee generated by the cost of managing stormwater by the city).

So, if small American towns and cities are implementing water management strategies and utilising permeable pavers, why isn’t Melbourne doing the same? Even when Australia has access to the world’s most advanced permeable pavers.

Hydropavers from Premier Pavers & Stone are highly permeable pavers made from recycled ceramic. Featuring an incredibly high permeability rate, these pavers are able to absorb more than 60mm of rainfall per hour – more rainfall than Melbourne has seen in the past 100 years.

If these pavers were implemented on a large scale, urban runoff would be greatly reduced and so would flooding; Hydropavers also lower the urban heat island effect and reduce the noise of traffic due to their porous nature.