22 July 2020 – A rain garden in Santorso

One of the Rain Gardens of Santorso municipality, an innovative bioretention system for rainwater management realized by the LIFE BEWARE Project, is located in Piazza Libertà. The system is designed to prevent the risk of flooding and to make it easier to recharge the water table, making the urban area more resilient and safer. The Rain Garden represents a sustainable as well as a pleasant element that characterizes the heart of the town of Altovicentino, being one of the first results of the European LIFE BEWARE project, which is led by Santorso municipality and  developed in collaboration with Marano Vicentino municipality, the Department of Land and Agro-Forestal Systems (TEASF) of Padua University, Veneto Agricoltura, Consorzio di Bonifica Alta Pianura Veneta and the European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA).

A closer look at the Rain Garden

The bioretention work, whose primary objective is the reduction of the hydraulic risk, is located in the southern part of Piazza Della Libertà and it includes a portion of public green area, 66 square meters, between the monument “Al Partigiano” and the monument “Agli Alpini”. The measure allows to manage the rainwater runoff caused by the impermeable surface of the parking lot in Piazza della Libertà (about 800 square meters), reducing the volume and intensity of output water in the drainage network.

The intervention makes it possible to reduce the inconvenience that rainfall causes to pedestrian paths, located in the lower part of the public area, leading to the school plexus, especially during intense weather events. Secondly, the intervention will have a demonstrative and informative function and it will be part of the didactic itinerary provided by the LIFE BEWARE Project. Indeed, it will represent a model of good practice that other Municipalities, but also private individuals, can realize in their territories, or in residential contexts, to reduce the risk of flooding.

The educational itinerary aims to promote environmental awareness and sustainable territorial planning and to show citizens, tourists and professionals who will join visit, the work carried out thanks to the LIFE BEWARE Project.

The choice of the rain garden location, within one of the main squares of the town, in the middle of the urban centre, was not accidental. As a gathering place, like the weekly market on Thursday morning, and several events and manifestations, the place was chosen to give strong visibility to the Natural Water Retention Measure. The aesthetic value of the work, which emphasizes its presence and pleasant inclusion in the urban environment, is characterized by the combination of ornamental plants typical of rain gardens.

Rain gardens are vegetated depressions consisting of substrates of draining soil that collect and infiltrate water from an impermeable surface (roof, sidewalk, parking lot, roads ) reducing the volume of rainwater runoff. This type of structure allows, through the actions of filtration and, in part, phyto-purification of plants, to retain pollutants that may be present in the water, thus improving its quality. The rain garden has an important aesthetic purpose too, considering the ornamental characteristics of the plants used for its realization:  it can be of different sizes fitting easily into a wide variety of urban contexts, thanks also to the adaptability of the plants that can used. The cost of creating a rain garden is reasonable, with maintenance limited to cleaning, pruning and, exceptionally, plant replacement.

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