New Construction and its Effects on Water Quality

The opportunity for conservation that exists in Cypress Creek presently lies in the remaining undeveloped areas within the watershed. The Cypress Creek watershed is experiencing increasing demands as the urban-development envelope expands into previously minimally developed areas. Increased demand for drinking water in areas that rely heavily on groundwater will likely result in significant aquifer drawdown. More residential and commercial development also means more impervious cover in the form of roads, driveways, and parking lots. Impervious cover creates a physical barrier that prevents rainwater from entering the soil, thus reducing or eliminating infiltration into the subsurface. The reduced infiltration can impact both shallow and deep aquifer recharge. Increased impervious cover also creates the potential for greater volumes of stormwater to runoff directly into Cypress Creek and karst recharge features. Runoff from impervious cover is often simply diverted to the nearest stream causing an increase in peak flood flows. Increased flood flow can cause increased erosion and sediment loading into Cypress Creek, impairing ecosystem stability and degrading water quality.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), stormwater runoff from construction sites can cause soil erosion at a rate 20 times greater than that of normal land use, leading to expensive repairs such as topsoil replacement, regarding and reseeding. If runoff from construction sites is not contained with best management practices, it can enter surface-water bodies. In fact, construction sites can contribute more sediment to streams during a short period of time than can be deposited naturally over several decades. Best management practices prevent sediment and pollutants from harming wildlife and their habitats and can decrease water-treatment costs.

Reduced local recharge and increased stormwater discharges are major causes of concern to water-quality impairment within the Cypress Creek watershed. The CCWPP is designed to mitigate environmental impacts of development through stormwater management practices that use green infrastructure to slow, capture, and filter water before entering surface water bodies and aquifers.