Controlling storm water is a major challenge in urban environments, where many surfaces are impermeable. In a city, rain cannot simply soak into the ground and filter into the water table. One potential solution is permeable pavement, which uses the same ingredients as its common counterpart minus the sand that usually packs into gaps between the gravel. Without the sand, the final pavement allows water to soak through, as seen above. In practice, the water sinks into a porous reservoir beneath the pavement that helps store and regulate the water’s discharge into the soil.
Unfortunately, this solution has its limitations. Permeable pavement is not as strong as the regular variety, so it doesn’t work for highly trafficked areas like roadways. It’s also not well-suited to colder areas, where freezing and thawing may disrupt its operation. But it is another tool in engineers’ toolboxes when it comes to keeping urban environments in harmony with nature’s needs. (Image and video credit: Practical Engineering)