Kansas Community Benefits by Turning Trouble into Treasure

(February 2006, as appeared in APWA Reporter  http://www.apwa.net/Publications/Reporter/)

Successful stormwater solutions abound in Lenexa
Historic wisdom helped shape future planning in Lenexa, Kansas, where city and public works leaders have put the words of Albert Einstein into practice by developing innovative stormwater management solutions that will effectively address both quantity and quality issues for years to come.

'The many people who have participated in the development and implementation of Lenexa's watershed and stormwater management programs and plans share Einstein's philosophy,' says City of Lenexa Director of Public Works Ronald C. Norris. 'We've collectively demonstrated that 'we can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.'

Whereas stormwater runoff has historically been perceived as a problem to be rapidly swept away, the previously widespread practices of channeling and concrete lining of natural streams and clearing of riparian corridors have recently given way to more environmentally friendly approaches. As communities across the United States begin to view stormwater as a water resource asset instead of a liability, the Coon Creek Watershed study, design, and soon-to-be-completed construction exemplify Lenexa's forward thinking.

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