Protecting groundwater

A bioswale is a carefully designed landscape feature built to absorb and slow stormwater runoff. A heavy rainstorm washes contaminants from fields, buildings and pavement. When that stormwater passes through a bioswale, the plants and rocks of the bioswale slow the water down, reducing erosion and filtering out pollutants.

Saving water

Unlike lawn, bioswales are landscape features that don’t need to be watered. Landscape irrigation consumes more than 7 billion gallons a day in the U.S. About half of that water is wasted because of evaporation and runoff. So, we conserve water with bioswales by taking that area out of irrigation. In addition, any runoff from irrigated areas will be captured, filtered and used by the bioswale.

Using local plants also helps conserve more water (they evolved for our conditions) and helps native pollinators and bees. They are also, by definition, noninvasive.

Some of the plants you’ll see in the bioswale include blue flag iris, dense blazing star, swamp milkweed and awl fruited sedge. These plants tolerate the salt runoff from the parking lots in the winter.

Bioswale benefits

At CLC: Stormwater control and water conservation

Bioswales prevent the erosion and pollution that stormwater brings. The bioswale itself is a landscape planting that does not need irrigation, so CLC uses less water.

Other ways CLC conserves water:

  • keeping lawns long
  • installing low-flow fixtures
  • using recycled rainwater

In Lake County: Saving soil, water and money

A bioswale can help preserve areas from erosion and keep the cost of water down by reducing demand. You can also conserve water by choosing faucets, toilets and other appliances that are water friendly. Even using a timer for your garden hose can do a lot to conserve water and save money.

Around the world: Protecting and preserving groundwater

According to the UN, 40% of our global food supply comes from irrigated cropland. Irrigation stresses the land and groundwater resources, which are further stressed by the increasing droughts and floods brought by global warming. Small-scale, local interventions like bioswales protect groundwater from pollution and reduce non-agricultural irrigation use.