Green Stormwater Design Made Easy

by: Guest Author | 09/11/2015
Estimated Reading time: 3 - 4 minutes

Managing stormwater—the water from rainfall events—is a pressing challenge for cities today. To deal with flooding, cities have built massive sewer systems to move water away from urban areas and discharge it to treatment plants or the ocean. But many cities are now experiencing the undesired side effects of this ‘gray infrastructure’ approach, most notably river pollution and depleted water supplies.

In the U.S. alone, estimated 10 trillion gallonsof untreated stormwater flow into waterways and drinking water supplies each year. This water is laced with algae-inducing nutrients, heavy metals, and in the case of 772 U.S. cities with combined sewer systems, raw sewage. As a result, cities are looking for a more sustainable approach to stormwater management.

Green stormwater management practices like porous pavement and bioretention absorb and filter stormwater where it lands, replenishing aquifers rather than contaminating rivers. By using green infrastructure techniques, not only are communities protecting water quality more cost-effectively, they realize a number of additional benefits such as new recreational space, cleaner air, and increased property values.

It’s not surprising then that 9 of the 10 most populous U.S. cities have green infrastructure plans or ordinances. New York and Philadelphia have allocated billions of dollars for improvements over the next two decades. Globally, the EU, UK, and Australia all require green infrastructure. And in Asia, Singapore and 16 pilot “Sponge Cities” in China have committed to capturing a majority of their rainwater for local reuse.

Introducing Autodesk® Green Stormwater Infrastructure Extension for InfraWorks® 360

Until now, only a handful of tools existed for green stormwater infrastructure design. These tools are limited to either 2D schematics or spreadsheets, so there hasn’t been an easy way to visualize and simulate how design features fit within the landscape and perform under different storm conditions.

Autodesk Green Stormwater Infrastructure Extension for Infraworks 360


Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Extension for InfraWorks 360 is different because it enables rapid design and real-time analysis of stormwater management projects in an interactive 3D environment. These capabilities will help planners and engineers determine the best way to integrate infrastructure strategies at the site, neighborhood, or district scale. GSI uses industry-standard hydrological models to estimate runoff volume, and features tools to design and analyze nine types of green stormwater infrastructure, including trees. GSI also provides flexibility to meet local stormwater requirements as well as LEED v4 (SSc4) and LEED 2009 (SSc6.9) certification credits.

GSI is available for free to Autodesk InfraWorks 360 subscribers on the Autodesk Exchange App Store.

Read the original blog post by Brian Young, Infrastructure Program Manager for Sustainability Solutions.




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