Keeping a LID on rainwater runoff – Is American-style "Low Impact Development" relevant in BC?


Nature has its ways of dealing with rainwater. Some percolates into the ground, some pools, and some makes its way to larger bodies of water; often, which route water takes depends upon the state of the soil and the plant life growing within it. Once humans have altered a site, however, all bets are off, especially since most of our construction materials are nonporous. Therefore, a variety of manufactured products and earth-altering tactics are used to compensate for our changing nature’s status quo.

In the June 2009 Buyers Guide issue of Stormwater Magazine, writer Janis Keating takes a look at Low Impact Development – what it means, and how it is being applied in the United States.


What is LID?

“Low-impact development [LID] is an approach to stormwater management and site design that uses natural hydrologic processes to preserve or recreate that hydrology at LID center - neil weinstein (160p)the site level, or to meet goals,” explains Neil Weinstein, executive director of the Low Impact Development Center, a nonprofit organization located in Maryland and dedicated to the advancement of LID technology.

According to Janis Keating, Weinstein believes LID has advantages. She quotes Weinstein as stating that: “It gives us the ability to look at things holistically, to save infrastructure. Maybe it will help create green jobs. And, although it can be implemented nationally, or state by state, it has benefits even at the local level; each ‘little’ project helps.”

In her article, Keating claims that manufactured products can do an equal, or sometimes better, job than land-based systems. To promote this message, she reports that the industry has created the Stormwater Equipment Manufacturers Association (SWEMA). Formed in 2008, the groups members are producers of stormwater devices—many of them competitors now working together to provide a voice for the industry and to lobby for such things as standard testing procedures and proper maintenance of rainwater/stormwater facilities. 

To access the complete article by Janis Keating, click on Keeping a LID on Runoff.


Is LID relevant in British Columbia?

“While the term Low Impact Development is used in the United States for some types of at source rainwater/ stormwater management techniques, in British Columbia we have Iona island tour - robert hicks (240p)found that the usage of this term is often a barrier to uptake and implementation,” observes Robert Hicks, Senior Engineer with Metro Vancouver and an experienced water resource practitioner. To learn more about the British Columbia context , click on Stormwater Management, Low Impact Development, Sustainable Drainage, Green Infrastructure, RAINwater Management…. what is an appropriate term to use?



Before STORMWATER, The Journal for Surface Water Quality Professionals, there was no single publication written specifically for  the professional involved with surface water quality issues, protection, projects, and programs. Janis Keating is a frequent contributor to Forester Media Inc. publications.


Posted June 2009