For over 100 years, Melbourne has experienced heavy rains, which cause flash flooding, especially in suburban areas that were developed before the mid to late 1970s.

Planning authorities at the time did not have the resources to even consider what would happen in the event the existing drainage overflowed; however, it is the responsibility of the current planning authority to address this issue in a preventative manner.

The problem:

Continuous rainfall can cause flooding in many of Melbourne’s suburban streets. When the existing drainage system in some of these suburbs reach capacity, the excessive water then flows along the roads and other overland channels into nearby rivers and creeks; this runoff water is a mixture of rainwater and sewage that overflows into the streets.

While this scale of flooding does not cause monumental damage to human life or property, it can create severe bottlenecks for homeowners, commuters and the city’s maintenance authorities. The water runoff usually enters low lying homes and roadside establishments, but most importantly, over 90% of this water is wasted as it flows into sewers, rivers and creeks.

Permeable paving can ensure this water is stored as groundwater or allowed to easily return to the ecosystem. The permeable paving system also decreases stormwater runoff and prevents soil erosion due to flooding.

The technology:

Permeable paving is the most effective solution to combat urban flooding. It can also be installed by homeowners to protect their driveways and backyards from excessive water stagnation. Premier Pavers & Stone offers Hydropavers, a range of permeable pavers suitable for supporting heavy vehicles and withstanding any adverse weather conditions.

How do Hydropavers work?

When heavy rainfall occurs, the excess water, instead of rushing into the sewers, will slowly pass through the pores of the permeable paving surface, getting filtered in the process. Passing vehicles can leave layers of oil and other chemicals on the streets; permeable paving allows such harmful residues to be filtered out rather than letting them pass into the sewer system.

The permeable paving system mimics nature in the most fundamental sense: It allows water to pass through just as soil would soak water to avoid landslides and water runoff.

A permeable paving system prevents water runoff by filtering excess rainwater and allowing the groundwater to recharge; acts as the most efficient drainage system that does not require regular maintenance; and offers an affordable solution to the recurring flooding problem.

The cost:

“You’re not just getting a pavement; you’re getting a pavement and a stormwater management system all in one.” – Director of Stormwater Services VHB, Massachusetts on the prospect of investing in the Southeast Atlanta paving project, which became one of America’s most successful permeable paving projects.

When this area faced multiple issues of flooding and residents suffered from the constant mismanagement of rain and sewage water, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed ventured out to find a solution to the problem. A whopping investment of $15.8 million was made to remove the existing asphalt roads and replace them with permeable paving.

The outcomes were amazing, with the people of Atlanta no longer suffering from stormwater flooding the streets, and homes remaining dry even through heavy rainfalls.

The initial cost of installing permeable paving pays for itself by reducing future expenditures caused by heavy rains, flash flooding and unexpected weather conditions. Permeable paving is not a quick-fix but a long term solution for personal and public infrastructure.