Potential Improvements to Urban Stormwater Management through Transnational Sharing of Experience and Technology


On behalf of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), Ecologic Institute is carrying out comparative study on the use of Green Infrastructure for urban storm water management in Germany and the US in order to illuminate a series of best practices that may help guide US efforts to improve existing infrastructure. The water policy team at Ecologic Institute is joined by experts at the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and the George Washington University in the performance of this contract.

In the US, urban water managers are confronted with numerous pressures demanding a comprehensive transformation of urban water management and infrastructure planning. Post-industrial cities in Germany and the US share the same problems of ageing civic and water infrastructure, a depleted tax base and demographic change. On the other hand, these same urban core areas possess significant technical, financial, social, cultural, and natural resource capitals.

Due to its unique placement in the hydrogeological landscape of Europe, its geopolitical and economic position in the European Union (EU), and historical precedents in re-building infrastructure, Germany offers a comprehensive set of experiences in innovative water management for densely populated regions and renowned technical expertise in wastewater management, and more generally water resources management. Germany has both a similar socio-economic background and, like the US, a federal system of government, which may facilitate transfer and sharing of experience to develop viable policies.

Ecologic Institute and its project partners will use interviews, comparative studies, policy evaluations, and literature studies to compile practical information on the use of green infrastructure to address the challenges of urban storm water management which can inform a political decision-making process in order to develop goal oriented concepts for environmental policy.

Specifically, the project outcomes will include:

  1. a summary of the main waste water and storm water infrastructure challenges in the US, and an assessment of the relevant technical characteristics;
  2. a selection German case studies as models based on their ability to demonstrate both sucessful and unsuccesful approaches to the main challenges of US water infrastructure;
  3. a list of relevant actors on both sides of the Atlantic and necessary steps to initiate an exchange or dialog based on the revealed best practices.
Dr. Darla N. Nickel
Project ID
Water, Waste water, Urban Water Management, Storm water Management, Green Infrastructure, International Comparison, Transatlantic exchange, Best Practices
USA, Germany

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