What are the Methods of Stormwater Management?

Have you ever thought about what happens to all the rainwater after it pours down? Stormwater is the water that runs off the land surface after a rainfall or snowmelt event. It can carry pollutants and debris into the waterways, causing water quality and environmental problems.

Stormwater management is the practice of controlling and reducing the negative impacts of stormwater runoff on the natural and built environment. This blog post will explore the different methods of stormwater management, their benefits and challenges.

Why is Stormwater Management Important?

Before we dive into the methods of stormwater management, let us first understand why it is important to manage stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff can cause a number of problems, such as:


Stormwater runoff can overwhelm the capacity of the drainage systems, leading to flooding of roads, buildings, and properties. Flooding can cause damage to infrastructure, property, and human lives, as well as disrupt economic and social activities.


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Stormwater runoff can erode the soil and vegetation, causing land degradation and the loss of habitat. Erosion can also increase the sediment load in the waterways, affecting aquatic life and water quality.


Stormwater runoff can carry various pollutants, such as nutrients, metals, chemicals, bacteria, and viruses, into the waterways. These pollutants can contaminate the water sources, posing health risks to humans and animals, as well as impairing the ecological functions of the water bodies.

Climate change

Stormwater runoff can contribute to climate change by altering the hydrological cycle and increasing the greenhouse gas emissions. Stormwater runoff can reduce the infiltration and recharge of groundwater, affecting the availability and quality of water resources. Stormwater runoff can also increase the surface temperature and evaporation, affecting the local and regional climate.

What are the Methods of Stormwater Management?

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There are various methods of stormwater management, ranging from conventional to innovative, and from structural to non-structural. The choice of the method depends on several factors, such as the site characteristics, the stormwater quantity and quality, the regulatory requirements, the cost and maintenance, and the stakeholder preferences.

Here are some of the common methods of stormwater management:

Conventional Methods

Conventional methods of stormwater management are the traditional approaches that focus on collecting, conveying, and disposing of stormwater runoff as quickly as possible. These methods include:

Storm sewers: Storm sewers are underground pipes that collect and transport stormwater runoff from the streets, roofs, and other impervious surfaces to a discharge point, such as a stream, river, lake, or ocean. Storm sewers are designed to prevent flooding and erosion, but they do not treat or reduce the stormwater runoff volume or pollutant load.

Detention basins: Detention basins are shallow ponds that temporarily store stormwater runoff during and after a storm event. They are designed to reduce the peak flow and delay the runoff time, but they do not reduce the runoff volume or pollutant load. Detention basins can also provide some aesthetic and recreational benefits, but they require regular maintenance and monitoring.

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Retention basins: Retention basins are deeper ponds that permanently store stormwater runoff and release it slowly over time. They are designed to reduce the runoff volume and peak flow, as well as to provide some water quality treatment through sedimentation, filtration, and biological processes. Retention basins can also provide habitat and recreational benefits, but they require more land and maintenance than detention basins.

Innovative Methods

Innovative methods of stormwater management are the emerging approaches that focus on mimicking the natural hydrological cycle and enhancing the stormwater runoff quality and quantity. These methods include:

Low impact development (LID): LID is a design philosophy that aims to minimise the disturbance and imperviousness of the land, and to maximise the infiltration, evapotranspiration, and reuse of stormwater runoff. LID practices include green roofs, rain barrels, permeable pavements, rain gardens, bioswales, and vegetated filter strips. LID practices can reduce the runoff volume and peak flow, as well as improve the runoff quality and aesthetics of the site.

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Green infrastructure (GI): GI is a network of natural and engineered elements that provide multiple benefits for stormwater management, as well as for the environment and society. Green infrastructure (GI) elements include wetlands, forests, parks, gardens, and greenways. GI elements can reduce the runoff volume and peak flow, as well as enhance the runoff quality and biodiversity of the site. GI elements can also provide ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, air quality improvement, climate regulation, and recreation.

Sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS): SUDS are a holistic approach to stormwater management that integrates the technical, environmental, social, and economic aspects of the site. SUDS aims to manage stormwater runoff at the source, along the pathway, and at the receptor, using a combination of structural and non-structural measures. SUDS measures include source control, flow control, and end-of-pipe control. SUDS measures can reduce the runoff volume and peak flow, as well as improve the runoff quality and benefits of the site.


To wrap up, Stormwater management is essential for reducing the environmental impact of runoff, controlling flooding, and preserving water quality. Through various strategies ranging from traditional methods like storm sewers to innovative approaches such as Low Impact Development and Green Infrastructure, we can effectively manage stormwater. Each technique offers unique advantages and addresses different challenges, making the choice of method crucial for specific site requirements and sustainability goals.

For expert advice and customised stormwater management solutions, consider reaching out to Resolute Civils. Contact Resolute Civils today to explore how they can assist you in achieving your stormwater management objectives and contribute to a healthier, more sustainable environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is stormwater and why does it need to be managed?

Stormwater is water from rain or snowmelt that doesn’t soak into the ground but runs off surfaces like roofs and roads. Managing it is crucial because it can carry pollutants to waterways, cause flooding, and harm the environment.

What is a stormwater attenuation tank?

A stormwater attenuation tank temporarily stores water during heavy rainfall to prevent drainage systems from being overwhelmed. It releases the stored water at a controlled rate, reducing the risk of flooding and environmental damage.

How are stormwater management services funded?

In some areas, a stormwater utility fee is charged based on the impervious surface area of properties. This fee funds operations, maintenance, and improvements in stormwater management systems.

What is the significance of measuring stormwater runoff?

Measuring stormwater helps in designing effective management systems, ensuring they can handle the volume and rate of runoff, thereby preventing flooding and pollution.

Who is responsible for paying the stormwater utility fee?

All property owners, including residential, commercial, and institutional, are typically responsible for the stormwater utility fee, which is based on the extent of impervious surfaces on their property.

How does stormwater management contribute to sustainability?

Effective stormwater management practices like bioswales and green infrastructure enhance urban biodiversity, improve water quality, and reduce the risk of flooding, contributing to the overall sustainability of urban areas.

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