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Stormwater


Stormwater is water that originates during precipitation events and snow/ice melt. Stormwater can soak into the soil (infiltrate), be held on the surface and evaporate, or runoff and end up in nearby streams, rivers, or other water bodies (surface water).

In natural landscapes such as forests, the soil absorbs much of the stormwater and plants help hold stormwater close to where it falls. In developed environments, unmanaged stormwater can create two major issues: one related to the volume and timing of runoff water (flooding) and the other related to potential contaminants that the water is carrying (water pollution).

Stormwater is also a resource and important as the world's human population demand exceeds the availability of readily available water. Techniques of storm water harvesting with point source water management and purification can potentially make urban environments self-sustaining in terms of water.

Because impervious surfaces (parking lots, roads, buildings, compacted soil) do not allow rain to infiltrate into the ground, more runoff is generated than in the undeveloped condition. This additional runoff can erode watercourses (streams and rivers) as well as cause flooding after the stormwater collection system is overwhelmed by the additional flow. Because the water is flushed out of the watershed during the storm event, little infiltrates the soil, replenishes groundwater, or supplies stream baseflow in dry weather.



  • control of flooding and erosion;
  • control of hazardous materials to prevent release of pollutants into the environment (source control);
  • planning and construction of stormwater systems so contaminants are removed before they pollute surface waters or groundwater resources;
  • acquisition and protection of natural waterways or rehabilitation;
  • building "soft" structures such as ponds, swales, wetlands or green infrastructure solutions to work with existing or "hard" drainage structures, such as pipes and concrete channels;
  • development of funding approaches to stormwater programs potentially including stormwater user fees and the creation of a stormwater utility;
  • development of long-term asset management programs to repair and replace aging infrastructure;
  • revision of current stormwater regulations to address comprehensive stormwater needs;
  • enhancement and enforcement of existing ordinances to make sure property owners consider the effects of stormwater before, during and after development of their land;
  • education of a community about how its actions affect water quality, and about what it can do to improve water quality; and
  • planning carefully to create solutions before problems become too great.
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Wikipedia

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