© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Low-Impact Development Competition Heats Up, Showcases Water Runoff Designs

San Antonio River Authority

The San Antonio River Authority is working with architects and planners to think globally about the impacts of new developments on the watershed.

As part of the awareness program, SARA’s Low Impact Development Design Competition comes to a conclusion this week.

It seems like a simple concept: Design a project, building or parking lot from the beginning to efficiently and effectively make water go to the right places.  

"It’s not just for the environment. Low-impact development really has opportunities to make our quality of life better for our community and our constituency." said SARA's Steven Graham, who also said the technology is starting to be recognized as a cost saver for developers.

"Create a better product, whether it’s a city street or a suburban neighborhood or a drainage project, you have an opportunity to make a project that looks better and can be at the same cost or cheaper," he said.

Karen Bishop said SARA offered three local scenarios for its competition.

"One is a green roadway in Leon Valley, one is a mixed-use multi-family area at Port San Antonio, and one is a seven-acre parcel at Hemisfair," Bishop said.

The project designers have been working on low-impact technologies that fit these spaces, including rain harvesting, roof gardens, and permeable pavement. Other site-specific engineered systems are not expensive to build, but cause stormwater to flow more slowly down its pathway so that fewer toxins make it to our rivers and streams.

Wednesday night is the final judging for the competition. The winning team in each category will receive a $15,000 prize.

View the criteria for each submission in the PDF viewer below:

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.