Best Management Practices for Stormwater Management in the Desert Southwest

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Abstract:

Despite several decades of experience with stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) in the United States, the application of such approaches in the Desert Southwest region has not received adequate attention. One reason for this shortcoming could be the general perception of the insignificance of BMPs in a region with little annual precipitation. However, the Desert Southwest still experiences relatively high rainfall intensity and runoff from rainfall. Sparse vegetation, steep topography, complex soils, unique geology, and rapid land development all contribute increase runoff response. Since the Desert Southwest hosts a large and rapidly growing population, stormwater BMPs are important for protecting the quality and quantity of scarce receiving surface and ground waters. The hydrometereological characteristics of intense short-term precipitation, large inter-storm duration, and smaller annual volumes of rainfall and the region's watershed characteristics are unique; the design of regional stormwater BMPs should consider these characteristics. Also, there is a need for more specific design guidance for implementing general approaches for adapting stormwater BMPs from humid regions to arid settings.

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