Green stormwater infrastructure in an informal context : feasibility and potential stormwater impacts of implementing rain gardens and rain barrels in peri-urban Santo Domingo
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Latin America is the most urbanized region in the developing world, with much of this urbanization occurring informally. The pressure of increasing impervious cover without the provision of adequate stormwater infrastructure frequently leads to urban flooding in informal contexts. This study investigates the feasibility and potential benefits of implementing a network of decentralized green stormwater infrastructure controls in the subwatersheds of three channelized creeks that contribute to flooding in Los Platanitos, an informal settlement in Santo Domingo Norte, Dominican Republic. Through a mixed-methods research design including interviews with institutional actors and residents, as well as detailed field mapping with local experts, a Stormwater Management Model (SWMM) model was developed to estimate the potential runoff and storage impacts of the construction of a network of rain gardens and rain barrels throughout the contributing subwatersheds. The model predicts a 20% reduction in flooding for a 5-year storm, and a lengthening of the time it takes for the system to start flooding. These benefits, albeit small, are substantial when floodwaters are highly contaminated and pose a significant health risk.