Stormwater Infrastructure

Stormwater Infrastructure

Importance of Stormwater Management in an Urban Environment

Stormwater infrastructure is important but often underappreciated because much of the equipment and facilities are located underground or out of public view. However, this infrastructure is essential to protecting our quality of life. Stormwater management helps our ecosystem in the following ways:

Decreases Water Pollution

Soil acts as a natural filter for rainwater, replenishing rivers and groundwater supplies with relatively clean water. This process is lacking in urban settings, where rain flows across hard surfaces, picking up debris, chemicals, bacteria and sediment before heading into storm drains, which lead directly into our streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands and ocean. That’s why one of the primary purposes of stormwater management is to detain stormwater and remove pollutants before reintroducing it into local waterways.

Mitigates Flooding and Erosion

When excess water falls on impervious surfaces, such as roofs and concrete, it runs rapidly rather than soaking gradually into the earth. This can cause flooding, erosion and infrastructure damage if not managed properly. With the correct stormwater facilities in place, runoff can be contained and controlled, preventing destructive floods and slowing soil erosion in the process.

Graphic of water moving through the urban environment

When it rains, stormwater flows from roofs, sidewalks and other urban surfaces onto city streets, picking up pollution and trash along the way. Water that enters the stormwater system remains untreated, ultimately reaching the Pacific Ocean. That’s why it is important to keep our city and streets as clean as possible, maintaining the natural beauty that makes San Diego the place that we call home.

 

Underwater sea life

Stormwater Infrastructure Key Terms

Curb

Curb/Street

A stone or concrete edging to a street or path

Drain Pipe

Pipe

A tube of metal or plastic used to convey water

Channel

Channel

A permanent waterway designed to convey stormwater runoff

Pump Station

Pump Station

Machines and associated facilities that transport water from one site to another

Levee

Levee

A natural or artificial wall that blocks water to prevent flooding

Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure

An approach to water management that protects and restores the natural water cycle

Watershed

Watershed

An area or ridge of land that separates water flowing to different rivers or basins

Drain Structure

Drain Structure

A system of drains (pipes and subterranean tunnels) intended to collect and draw off groundwater from structures

Street Sweeper

Street Sweeping

The use of machines to pick up trash from city streets

 

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