They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so does that mean if an energy efficiency system is stolen, it is probably working? A rainwater harvesting system was stolen in Philadelphia, and some folks in the city’s water department likened the theft to a backhanded compliment.
The city of brotherly love implemented a series of rain barrels as one part of a solution to Philadelphia’s water runoff problem. However, many of the barrels were stolen, leading Chris Crockett, the Philadelphia Water Department’s deputy commissioner of environmental services, to attribute the crime to a sign of the system’s success.
However, despite the setback, Philly is not giving up in its efforts to resolve their water runoff problems. In the months following the theft, the city installed new rain barrels in addition to a number of other rainwater solutions including green roofs, porous paving and storm-water planters.
In April, Philadelphia received an enormous boost from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), signing an agreement that will result in a $400,000 investment into the city’s green city clean waters program. Additionally, the Philadelphia water department has taken $1.2 billion from water and sewer billing revenue and invested it into a 25-year green infrastructure project.
This ambitious initiative received an enormous amount of praise, and many around the country are turning to Philadelphia to lead nationwide water management initiatives, just as Chicago has led wind-energy efforts.
City officials may never find who stole the original rain barrels, but they must be commended for recovering and moving forward with finding clean water solutions. How is your city managing rainwater runoff? Is it a barrel of monkeys or are there true sustainable plans in the works?