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LOW IMPACT FEASIBILITY EVALUATION (LIFE™) MODEL – INTERACTIVE TOOL FOR DESIGNING LOW IMPACT DEVELOPMENTS

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The purpose of a Watershed Management Plan is to develop a realistic, implementable framework for watershed protection that includes combining watershed controls like best management practices and land use management. Watershed studies are conducted, however, at such a large scale that the effects of individual source control measures cannot be evaluated. Without this information, it is difficult to strike a balance between watershed protection, economic growth, and quality of life issues.

Low Impact Development (LID) is firmly establishing itself as an effective approach for source control in the arena of storm water management. LID relies on distributed runoff management that seek to control volume by minimization, retardation, infiltration, and treatment of runoff. This paper presents an overview of the Low Impact Feasibility Evaluation (LIFE™ – U.S. Patent Pending) model developed from basic principles of Low Impact Development, i.e. controlling the runoff at the source. LIFE™ is a continuous-simulation, model based largely on physical processes that occur within bio-retention facilities, vegetated swales, green roofs, and infiltration devices, as well as effects of site fingerprinting and soil compaction. LIFE™ accounts for runoff generation from all categories of land cover including roadways, landscaping, and buildings over a variety of land uses and soil types, for new development and re-development.

LIFE™ model optimizes the balance between economic growth and watershed protection. The model provides least-cost storm water management solutions that meet watershed protection and quality-of-life objectives. LIFE™ can be used to:



identify appropriate, site-specific best management practices, and


evaluate the effects of volume-based, peak flow, and water quality controls.


The model, developed on an Extend™ dynamic simulation platform, is visually oriented interactive tool that allows a wide range of applications from site design, site analysis and review, and public education.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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