How could we adapt to future flooding?
While there has been an overall decrease in precipitation, extreme rain events have increased in their intensity 13-16%. As a result, this future focuses on greatly enhancing hydrologic connectivity using green infrastructure and a “design with nature” mentality. Specifically, a multi-scalar network of green space links neighborhoods within cities to the larger region, consisting of floodplains, linear parks. During extreme precipitation events, the transportation network of highways acts as an emergency floodplain to convey water out of the city.
Iconic changes in this future include gradual but not substantial changes in urban density and a city-wide increase in permeable surfaces. By 2060, 50% of existing streets have incorporated green infrastructure features and the majority of residential developments are linked to the regional floodplain network through neighborhood wetlands, linear parks, and/or natural washes.
Regional Land Use and Land Cover Map 2060
In this future, the major land uses are largely unchanged overall, but significant effort has been put into creating connected green space throughout the region that helps to mitigate the effects of stormwater runoff and flooding during extreme rain events. For example, extensive softening of hard flood infrastructure has revitalized the Salt River system. During high rainfall events, water moves through a regional floodplain network. In addition, an expansive green network runs along the freeways to handle extreme flooding events. While urban density has not changed drastically, there has been a significant reduction in impervious surfaces city-wide.
Regional Heat 2060
Significant reduction in impervious surfaces city-wide along with the extensive floodplain network (wetlands, linear parks, vegetation) has resulted in overall cooler regional temperatures.
Thermal Comfort 2060
The base temperature in this rendering is 112.7°F. Temperatures vary depending on level of shading and proximity to heat retaining materials (e.g., asphalt). Unique to this scenario are the neighborhood scale wetlands, which are supplied by household greywater during dry times and help mitigate flood impacts during heavy rain. While the structure of the neighborhood remains relatively unchanged, the increase in connected vegetation has created cool corridors that encourage more people to walk and bike to their destinations.
Outdoor Water Use from Alternative Sources & Banked Water for Future Use 2060
While the percent of outdoor water used from alternative sources does not change drastically compared to other scenarios, there is significantly more total water used outdoors in this future. This is primarily the result of increased water resources needed to support the linear floodplain park network and the neighborhood scale wetlands. There is an increase in groundwater recharge, but is it predominantly through infiltration rather than direct banking. This future has very little banked water for future use.