Urban evaporation rates for water-permeable pavements

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

In urban areas the natural water balance is disturbed. Infiltration and evaporation are reduced, resulting in a high surface runoff and a typical city climate, which can lead to floods and damages. Water-permeable pavements have a high infiltration rate that reduces surface runoff by increasing the groundwater recharge. The high water retention capacity of the street body of up to 51 l/m2 and its connection via pores to the surface lead to higher evaporation rates than impermeable surfaces. A comparison of these two kinds of pavements shows a 16% increase in evaporation levels of water-permeable pavements. Furthermore, the evaporation from impermeable pavements is linked directly to rain events due to fast-drying surfaces. Water-permeable pavements show a more evenly distributed evaporation after a rain event. Cooling effects by evaporative heat loss can improve the city climate even several days after rain events. On a large scale use, uncomfortable weather like sultriness or dry heat can be prevented and the urban water balance can be attenuated towards the natural.

Keywords: evaporation, pervious concrete, urban climate, urban water balance, water-permeable pavement

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