Interior Storm Water Management for DC's Federal Triangle

Project Summary: This Storm Water Management for the Federal Triangle in the Form of an Urban Park along Constitution Avenue is a low impact, green infrastructure approach to address interior flooding in the Washington DC. Instead of large drainage pipes and singularly focused engineering solutions, this proposal is designed to handle storm water by recreating some of the natural hydrological conditions of Federal Triangle and restoring aspects of the historic Washington Canal.

-Winner of a Vermont Chapter of the American Association of Landscape Architects 2015 HONOR AWARD

Restoring the Function of the Historic Tiber Creek and Washington Canal:

-Can be partially financed with storm water management funding and completely financed with less than a 5 year payback (20% ROI) with money saved from basement pumping fees. It will then generate approx. $24 million per year in saved wastewater fees.

-Can be part of a climate proofing approach to a district that is a system-wide solution and therefore is more efficient and far more cost effective than other piecemeal proposals.

-Will be ready and working in case of any flood even with no further preparation needed.

-Addresses water storage and drainage capacity requirements for the catchment area.

-Can serve to bring storm-water management beyond the realm of engineering solutions to more design possibilities.

-Can Improve the public space in a way that will serve the public and users around it and integrate such elements as gardens, outdoor space for performances, places to play sports outside, places to socialize while partially restoring the historic waterway.

-Celebrates Green Infrastructure and Washington DC History, and can be used as an educational tool and cost effective measure to deal with interior flooding.

It is made up of three elements: a Bioswale along Constitution Avenue, a Retention Area at the Washington Monument, and a Bioswale along 17th Street and a possible small pump station for added capacity. It respects and works with the function of the 17th Street Levee which addresses river flooding.

This project has been presented to over 40 State, Federal, and District Agencies and has received much support and encouragement. The major challenge is coordination and coming together to address this interior flooding issue (for which there is no comprehensive solution in place) before the next storm event which is already overdue and which could cause upwards in $7 billion in damages.

Please contact Karolina Kawiaka, AIA at with comments/questions.