The first resource of the organization’s Stormwater Institute details the future of storm water systems in the U.S. and beyond
The Water Environment Federation (WEF) recently released of a new comprehensive report that details the challenges, opportunities and pathways to improving the nation’s storm water systems. The release of Rainfall to results: The future of storm water at WEFTEC 2015 in Chicago coincided with the official launch of the WEF Stormwater Institute, a new center designed to address storm water issues.
The growing issue of storm water pollution coupled with regulatory pressure is driving the need for innovative approaches, training, technology solutions and progressive financing. There is a need for national leadership and collaboration to help forge the path to more sustainable storm water management. The report draws from the insights of top storm water experts from across the United States who examined the challenges, opportunities, and best practices that will lead to a more resilient and effective storm water sector.
“Rainfall to results details a clear vision for where we need to be on storm water issues, but more importantly, it also gives us a map for getting there,” said WEF president Ed McCormick. “From encouraging work at the watershed level to improving governance and the regulatory environment, the report gives practitioners the tools they need to sustainably manage storm water.”
According to the report, collaborative action across all disciplines within the storm water sector and broader community engagement will be required to achieve the envisioned future in which all storm water will be managed through an optimized mix of affordable and sustainable green, gray, and natural infrastructure. Six objectives were identified to achieve this goal:
- Work at the watershed scale. All communities will have integrated, watershed-scale assessments of water resources needs and challenges;
- Transform storm water governance. Communities will catalyze further formation of storm water utilities and regulations to stimulate storm water control innovation and performance improvement by focusing on program outcomes;
- Support innovation and best practices. A broad suite of verified storm water controls and best practices will support confident planning and maintenance;
- Manage assets and resources. Storm water systems will be maintained through robust asset management programs and supported by innovative information technology;
- Close the funding gap. Communities will align storm water management efforts with broader community goals to garner funding options and have access to innovative financing opportunities; and
- Engage the community. Communities will understand and value the contribution storm water management makes to flood risk reduction, clean and safe water, climate resiliency and other benefits.
“Improving storm water management will be a key aspect of building resilience in the face of uncertain climate patterns and extreme weather events,” said Mike Beezhold, senior planner at CDM and chair of WEF’s Stormwater Committee. “We need to integrate storm water into broader regional and community planning and ensure we are managing storm water in a sustainable way.”