Addressing Italy’s urban flooding problems through the holistic watershed approach by using blue/green infrastructure

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Paul A. DeBarry


Water resources have been neglected and stressed for many years, as anthropogenic changes in watersheds have increased runoff, decreased infiltration and aquifer recharge, caused stream incision and streambank erosion and degraded water quality and water resources. The watershed is the management unit to begin to solve stormwater problems and flooding issues. Reversing the mismanagement from the past is a complicated process and must consider a holistic approach factoring in all the processes that cause the aforementioned problems. There are many technological tools such as GIS and hydrologic, hydraulic and water quality models that help pinpoint the sources of problems in the watershed and help derive at a comprehensive solution. The objective of this paper is to provide researchers and practitioners a systematic, methodical and proven approach to documenting and solving water management issues cause by unmanaged anthropogenic changes that have occurred in rural and urban watersheds. There are many regulations and literature about flooding and watershed plans with very detailed guidelines composed by state authorities, however, there are few that completely address the comprehensive, inclusive approach to watershed management to solve a variety of problems. For example, the State of Pennsylvania, USA has separate flood plain management, stormwater management, erosion and sediment pollution control and nonpoint discharge and elimination system (NPDES), and water supply / wellhead protection programs and regulations as opposed to one single “water resources management” regulatory program. This paper defines an innovative approach to overcome some of the restrictions placed on engineers and planners by regulatory programs.

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DeBarry, P. A. (2019). Addressing Italy’s urban flooding problems through the holistic watershed approach by using blue/green infrastructure. UPLanD - Journal of Urban Planning, Landscape & Environmental Design, 4(1), 127-136. Retrieved from


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