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Bioswales are strips of vegetated areas that redirect and filter storm water. A typical bioswale is a long, linear strip of vegetation in an urban setting used to collect runoff water from large impermeable surfaces such as roads and parking lots. Bioswales serve a similar purpose to that of gutters. The advantage of using bioswales is that the vegetation and soil in them slows down and collects water, allowing it to infiltrate soil, in addition to filtering pollutants. The current increase in storm frequency and scale can result in sewage or other polluted water overflow, making bioswales important for climate change adaptation.
Bioswales are often found parallel to long roads as they require a long and straight area to increase retention and filtration time. Bioswales’ slanted walls direct rain into the vegetated depressions. In some cases, check dams are built in the bioswale to further reduce water flow velocity.