3 Water Quality Application Trends in Kansas CityPosted on Wednesday, August 18th, 2021 by Brad Schleeter
In Stormwater, tagged in
The interest in improving water quality is increasing in the area with places, like Johnson County Kansas and the City of Kansas City, Missouri, paving the way. This change is driven by several factors locally, including the region’s commitment to sustainability and making our outdoor spaces more accessible and engaging. In addition, the growing national awareness about the importance of water quality can also be attributed to peoples’ experiences of weather pattern changes, including increased severity and frequency of flooding, temperature extremes, and cycles of drought. As these climate change factors become more central to the national consciousness, new and more significant conversations about improving water quality and allocating the resources to be able to do so have surfaced.
Locally, efforts to raise awareness about water quality related issues and implement real solutions that improve the quality of water are growing. Here are a few examples:
- Increased Visibility of Best Management Practices (BMPs): Whether through a desire to increase water quality awareness, connect people to their surroundings, or governmental mandates, like the Kansas City, Missouri consent decree from the Environmental Protection Agency, improved visibility of water quality BMPs in the region is all around us. In addition to the real benefits to water quality provided by BMPs, making them visible at our schools, neighborhoods, and parks helps people connect the benefit to their surroundings.
- Improved Water Quality Awareness: Programs and efforts aimed at getting people more in touch with the natural environment around them through educational opportunities is growing. Also, coupling signage and other educational components with water quality BMPs to tell the story about the role, purpose, and impact of the BMP are more prevalent. Tying these components and programs to our educational system is also an impactful way of increasing awareness. KC Water, Blue River Watershed Association, Friends of the Kaw, and Heartland Conservation Alliance are just a few local organizations doing great work in raising water quality awareness.
- Stream Stabilization: The dominant water resources in our region are streams and rivers that crisscross our communities, and there is a growing realization about the role that the stability of streams plays in downstream water quality. In addition to impacts of stream instability on buried infrastructure, buildings, and roadways, increased sediment in our streams caused by their instability is also being recognized as a major contributor to downstream water quality impacts. Green solutions that address this instability by using a combination of hard armoring and native plantings are becoming more prevalent.
The educational efforts in the region are increasing water quality awareness, leading to more interest in building water quality BMPs. And, as our communities see the benefits to quality of life and connection with our surroundings that come from water quality improvements, the investment of resources will continue. There is a bright future for the quality of our waters here in the Kansas City area, and it is gratifying to be a part of the movement for cleaner water.