Stormwater management is not always pretty. In fact, many times, drainage ditches, culverts, and black pipes can be an eyesore. Some people have decided to tackle this problem, creating functional artwork that works within the confines of the stormwater management system. Because this artwork often becomes a focal point, this integration of “art and beauty” results in greater community satisfaction and an increase in perceived value. Creative stormwater art manipulates and amplifies physical features, topography, landscaping and natural materials to create aesthetically pleasing artwork that continues to function within the stormwater management system. This art can also draw attention to, and increase awareness of, stormwater management.
Examples of stormwater art, which is another LID strategy, include:
- decorative and whimsical downspouts and cisterns
- aesthetic plantings with sculptures on green rooftops
- the decorative build of and plantings in medians and chicanes
- dry-wall water harvesting terraces
- decorative waterfalls
- landscaped streams
Some examples of rainwater artworks can be seen here. One of the most well-known, and largest stormwater art piece, was created by American artist Michael Jones McKean in Omaha Nebraska. His artwork, The Rainbow, created a fully-sustainable rainbow in the Omaha skyline.
Fountains are another decorative art feature that can be used to manage runoff. You see them in the middle of cities surrounded by large buildings and in the middle of natural areas like parks. Fountains vary in depth and size. Aerators are often added to this LID stormwater management strategy to agitate the water, deterring mosquitos who prefer still waters. A reinforced liner, such as BTL’s AquaArmor, can be used to retain waters at minimum depths to ensure that the fountain components remain submerged.