Managing Stormwater in Your Community

There has been a change in thinking among drainage practitioners, and the technical language is in transition. This change has seen the single function view of traditional 'stormwater management' give way to the integrated and comprehensive perspective that is captured by the term 'rainwater management'. Since it was first coined in the early 1970s, 'stormwater management' is the term that has been commonly used – mostly in North America -to refer to managing rainwater runoff under extreme wet weather conditions. For the past 30 years or so, the focus has been on conventional “storm-based” based approaches to sizing and designing conventional drainage facilities. Urban design thinking has evolved rapidly in recent years, however, to address the entire spectrum of rainfall systems, not just storms, in ways that reflect more natural water systems. 'Rainwater management' – generally used in Europe – more accurately describes this more holistic approach. Traditional stormwater management is reactive. It only deals with the consequences of the rare extreme events. Rainwater management, on the other hand, is proactive in managing all rainfall events that occur in a year (e.g 170 days in the Georgia Basin region). Integated rainwater management planning is an approach that recognizes the complex relationship between the built and natural environment. This new planning approach integrates rainwater management with engineering, planning and the environment to reflect the values of each watershed and community.

Author Greater Vancouver Regional District

Publisher Greater Vancouver Regional District