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Stormwater Management & Low Impact Development

What is Stormwater?

Stormwater runoff is rain that falls onto hardened surfaces, such as streets, roofs, and driveways, picks up pollutants that are on those surfaces, and carries the pollutants into the street storm drain system and on into our streams.  Those pollutants include, but are not limited to, oil, fertilizers, bacteria, heavy metals, gasoline, and sediment.  A great stormwater control measure in highly urbanized areas, such as San Antonio, is low impact development.

DID YOU KNOW: In San Antonio, stormwater does not drain into a sanitary sewer system.  It flows directly into our creeks and rivers primarily from the street storm drain system.

What is Low Impact Development?

Low Impact Development (LID) is a sustainable land planning and engineering design approach that manages stormwater runoff as close as possible to where it falls as rain. Examples are rain gardens, stormwater harvesting cisterns, and permeable pavement.

LID design

  • Uses on-site natural features to drain the site and manage pollutants
  • Maintains or enhances the site’s natural drainage flow paths after development
  • Reduces impervious cover and/or disconnects impervious areas from the stormdrain/stream network.

LID FAQ Sheet

What Can I Do?

This table highlights some simple and easy solutions for helping protect the San Antonio River watershed.

Solution Benefit Example
Position gutter downspouts toward vegetated/grassy areas in your yard rather than toward impervious surfaces such as driveways.
  • Slows down storm water
  • Filters contaminants
Rain gutter drain and Brown Eyed Susans.
Pick up pet waste
  • Reduces pollution that can be carried from your yard to a stream or river via the street/stormdrain system
Young woman taking her dog for walk in park.
When mowing your yard, leave grass clippings in your grass, bag them up and place them in the trash, or compost the grass clippings.  Do NOT blow them into the street or storm drains, which is prohibited by City ordinance.
  • Reduces pollutants, such as fertilizers, from reaching streams and rivers via the street/stormdrain system
Lawn Grass
Bag and dispose of or compost raked leaves.  Do NOT blow them into the street or storm drains, which is prohibited by City ordinance.
  • Reduces pollutants, such as bacteria, from reaching streams and rivers via the street/stormdrain system
Large, overflowing trash bags full of raked up oak tree leaves in autumn
When working on vehicles at home, properly dispose of automotive fluids. Do NOT let them fall onto the driveway, road, or other hardened surfaces.
  • Reduces contaminants, such as oils, from reaching streams and rivers via the street/stormdrain system
CarOil
Build a rain garden to help capture and filter stormwater on your property.
  • Slows down storm water
  • Filters pollutants
 IMG_20150421_133308
Use permeable pavement on driveways or landscape projects.
  • Slows down storm water
  • Filters pollutants
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Harvest rainwater in a rain barrel and use that water to irrigate your yard.
  • Captures storm water
  • Conserves potable water used to irrigate lawns
 RainBarrel