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Case studies

Atlanta Dept. of Watershed Management

Atlanta Department of Watershed Management’s implements a comprehensive plan to build green infrastructure throughout Atlanta by: (1) incorporating green infrastructure into Department of Watershed Management projects, (2) updating the City’s stormwater ordinance to require decentralized green infrastructure for single family infill development and commercial development and redevelopment properties, and (3) working with other City departments and partners to implement green infrastructure on public land. Click the link below to download the full case study.

 

Project at a Glance

Utility Overview

  • Utility: City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management
  • Location: Atlanta, Georgia
  • Population served: 1.2 million
  • Service area: 134 square miles

Challenges

  • Combined sewer overflows
  • Sanitary sewer overflows
  • Urban stormwater runoff
  • Urban flooding
  • Aging and damaged infrastructure
  • Climate change
  • Equity and affordability

Solution

  • A comprehensive plan to build green infrastructure throughout Atlanta by: (1) incorporating green infrastructure into Department of Watershed Management projects, (2) updating the City’s stormwater ordinance to require decentralized green infrastructure for single family infill development and commercial development and redevelopment properties, and (3) working with other City departments and partners to implement green infrastructure on public land.

Program costs and funding sources

  • Proctor Creek GI Projects: $13.5 million (6 projects)
    • Source: Environmental Impact Bond
  • Watershed Improvement Plan Projects: $596 million
    • Source: various, including grants, partnerships, and creative financing (currently no dedicated funding source)
  • Capacity Relief Projects (historic Fourth Ward Park Pond, Southeast Atlanta Green Infrastructure Initiative, Boone Blvd Green Street, Rodney Cook Jr. Park): $82 million
    • Source: Water/Sewer Enterprise funds (plus leveraged grant dollars for Boone Complete Street project)
  • Integrated Stormwater Project Planning: Approx. $12.5 – $13.5 million annually
    • Source: Municipal Option Sales Tax (MOST)

Benefits of Atlanta's Green Infrastructure Programs

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Permitted 4,700 private property projects from 2013 to 2018 that manage 950 million gallons of stormwater annually with green infrastructure
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Installed over 60 green infrastructure facilities on public property since 2011
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Preserved 2,000 acres of forested riparian buffers and greenspaces in perpetuity and restored 10,000 linear feet of stream corridors since 2001
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Improved water quality by reducing concentrations of pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorus, sediments, and bacteria
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Reduced urban flooding
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Advances City sustainability goals
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Local green jobs
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Realized over $500 million in economic redevelopment in housing and commercial markets and saved $15 million in avoided costs from implementing GI in the City’s Historic Fourth Ward Park
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Resilience to climate change
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Community engagement
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Stakeholder partnerships
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Cost-effective when compared to gray infrastructure alone
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Improved pedestrian safety through traffic calming

Check out WaterNow’s Tap into Resilience Toolkit to learn even more about investing in localized solutions like Atlanta’s in your community.

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