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Stormwater Management & Low Impact Development

What is Stormwater?

Stormwater runoff is rainfall that has fallen onto hardened surfaces, such as streets, roofs, and driveways, picked up the various pollutants that are on those surfaces, and carried the pollutants into the storm drain and stream systems.  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.

What is Low Impact Development?

Low Impact Development (LID) is a sustainable land planning and engineering design approach to managing stormwater runoff as close as possible to the source.

LID design features

  • Emphasize the use of on-site natural drainage features
  • Maintain or enhance the site’s hydrologic characteristics after development
  • Reduce overall imperviousness
  • Polish stormwater for quality.


What Can I Do?

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

Solution Benefit Example
Position downspouts on gutters towards vegetated/grassy areas in your yard
  • Slows down storm water
  • Filters contaminants
Rain gutter drain and Brown Eyed Susans.
Pick up pet waste
  • Reduces contamination
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
  • Reduces contaminants, such as fertilizers
Lawn Grass
Bag and dispose of, or compost raked leaves.  Do NOT blow them into the street or storm drains
  • Reduces contaminants, such as bacteria
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
  • Reduces contaminants, such as oils
Build a rain garden to help capture and filter storm water from your property
  • Slows down storm water
  • Filters contaminants
Use permeable pavement on driveways or landscape projects
  • Slows down storm water
  • Filters contaminants
Harvest rainwater in a rain barrel and use that water to irrigate your yard
  • Captures storm water
  • Conserves water