Water Management Opportunities
Stormwater management is an often-overlooked component of resource planning, however effective stormwater management can be used to meet a range of objectives. While traditional stormwater management typically occurs within a single agency on a local scale, an integrated approach to stormwater management focuses on facilitating collaboration between utility districts, land use agencies, and environmental interest groups to develop comprehensive stormwater management solutions.
Stormwater is defined by the US EPA as runoff that is generated form rain and snowmelt events that flow over land or impervious surfaces and does not soak into the ground.
When water is not able to percolate into the ground, it is moved downhill by gravity until it reaches a common low point such as a stream, lake, or storm drain. The journey of stormwater from the point where precipitation hits the ground to the point it enters into local water bodies provides great opportunity for pollutants to be picked up and distributed into local surface water. Common pollutants found in storm sewers and creeks include motor oil, pesticides, brake dust, animal wastes, paint, and household chemicals. Because stormwater is not treated prior to being discharged, it can be a significant contributor to surface water pollution.
In addition to degraded water quality, improper management of stormwater can result in increased flooding. Water that is unable to infiltrate into the soil runs off and ultimately accumulates in low lying areas where flooding occurs. This can pose risks to human safety and cause significant damage to infrastructure.