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August 23, 2019

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Lingang: a ‘sponge city’ soaking up water

A PILOT project to help the Lingang area capture and store rainwater like a sponge is nearing completion after three years.

A 79-square-kilometer area of Lingang near the East China Sea in the Pudong New Area, will become China’s largest “sponge city” pilot zone, the Shanghai Municipal Engineering Design Institute (Group) Co said yesterday.

The area is within the newly expanded free trade zone. The area near Hangzhou Bay is land reclaimed from the sea. It has the artificial Dishui Lake, and its streets are designed like ripples from the lake.

Grass ditches, water-permeable pavements, garden rooftops and wetlands have been created to store rainwater. Scenic water pools are used to control rainwater and prevent flooding.

Solid pavements have been replaced by water-absorbing bricks to reduce pooling on roads even during heavy rain.

Underneath each neighborhood’s garden is a huge underground water pool, where rainwater will be collected. Plants and grasses are planted in the gardens over the rain collection pools to purify the rainwater.

The purified water from the pools is connected to self-service car washing facilities in parking lots. The parking lots also have water-permeable bricks and grass areas to prevent water pooling.

Such sponge facilities helped Lingang to resist super typhoon Lekima early this month that battered through the east China coast, said Lu Yongpeng, assistant director with the sponge city research center.

The projects are part of the city government’s sponge city blueprint that is aimed at making local neighborhoods, streets and greenery better able to capture and store rainwater to ease the impact on the city during both rainy and arid seasons.

The trial project in Lingang has been carried out in 26 neighborhoods. All under-construction or future neighborhoods in Lingang will be built in accord with sponge city standards.

A total of 36 kilometers of roads have been renovated to have water-permeable pavements. About 80 percent of the roads have opened to traffic.

During the downpour when the super typhoon hit the city, rainwater was distributed to creeks on both sides of the roads and flowed into gardens and wetlands, Lu said.


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