Why Design Storm Methods Have Become Unethical

by William James, (F.ASCE), Univ of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


This paper discriminates between continuous and event modelling, and describes some dimensions of ethical design for sustainable ecosystems. Arguments are presented that event modelling and its associated design methodology at best contributes to the destruction of aquatic ecosystems. At worst, it is a direct cause of the destruction. A principal argument in favour of design storm methods is design economy. Cheap stormwater drainage design is at best an avoidance of consideration of the inevitable long-term ecological impacts of that design. At worst, it is tantamount to a deliberate decision to remain ignorant of the impacts of urban drainage system design. Finally, it is concluded that eco-sensitive design demands the adoption of continuous modelling. However, current engineering design manuals do not support this position. Thus, in order to effect timely adoption of eco-ethical design, all who suffer from impaired aquatic ecosystems, including students taught conventional hydrology exclusively, should seek or demand a comprehensive paradigm shift in stormwater management, or, failing this, formal redress.

Subject Headings: Hydraulic design | Storms | Sustainable development | Hydrologic models | Aquatic habitats | Drainage systems | Mathematical models | Structural models

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