Risk: A Fundamental Barrier to the Implementation of Low Impact Design Infrastructure for Urban Stormwater Control

Joshua Olorunkiya, Elizabeth Fassman, Suzanne Wilkinson


Rapid transformations of the urban landscape to cope with infrastructure needs have adverse consequences on the aquatic environments from urban stormwater runoff flows and the associated pollutants washed into the rivers and lakes. The implementation of low impact design (LID) infrastructure is considered a better approach to conventional management and control of urban runoff but has been slow, or non-existent, in many new urban cities. In addition to institutional, technological, social and economic barriers, risks and concern for contractual liabilities are identified as factors prohibiting uptake of low impact design. This article is based on findings from interviews; a survey and online questionnaire. The data obtained from the online survey was analyzed using non-parametric tests. First, the study showed risk as the most dominant factor inhibiting implementation of LID infrastructure. In addition, the results show a significant difference exists between professionals with LID implementation hands-on experience versus their counterparts with theoretical knowledge alone. Due to self-efficacy of professionals with practical experience, they are more inclined to favour and promote LID infrastructure, and hence possess better propensity for contractual liabilities risk taking. Summarily, the article proposes dissemination of relevant information among practitioners to improve LID knowledge apprehension and utilization. This will reduce perception of risk that will promote uptake. In addition, team collaboration with equitable contractual risk sharing for LID project planning and implementation is advocated.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/jsd.v5n9p27

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