They say everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame. Mine came this month when I was interviewed by our local PBS station, KLRU, for their Decibel program. This particular segment focused on Austin’s Water Pressures, and for my part we focused on how stormwater is handled at Mueller through a series of water quality ponds.
Ponds and lakes are common features in most new, large-scale developments. They serve an important and regulated role in mitigating the effects of our drought and flood cycle. During drought, pollutants like oil, car fluids, and trash build up on our roads and open spaces. Heavy rains eventually flush these contaminants into our creeks and streams, overwhelming the system. To prevent this from happening, ponds are situated to intercept that flow, slow down the water, and capture the debris where it can later be removed and disposed of properly.
Often these ponds are designed purely for their technical aspects, but with careful thought, they can become an amenity with recreational opportunities such as fishing and canoeing, can serve as gathering place for community events, and can add a scenic connection to the natural environment in the context of bustling new development. Additionally, amenity ponds offer an opportunity to create or re-create a form of habitat that enriches our ecosystem. The Southwest Greenway at Mueller has even become a focus of the Audubon Society because of the variety of bird life the pond attracts.
When well-integrated into the planning and design of a project, amenity ponds not only provide environmental services, they also add value from an economic standpoint in terms of attracting people and enhancing the value of the real estate that surrounds them.
Check out the full segment of Decibel: Austin’s Water Pressures here.