What is a stormwater system?
During a rainfall event, some of the water soaks into the soil, but a portion of the water is unable to be absorbed by the ground. This portion of water that falls as rain but runs off the land at the surface is referred to as "stormwater". A stormwater or "drainage" system is the combination of natural and constructed facilities that collect, contain, and provide for the flow of this surface water from the land to a receiving water body. A typical drainage system consists of both natural and man-made features, including pipes, inlets, culverts, street gutters, ditches, channels, creeks, lakes, ponds, dams, tunnels, and floodwalls. Stormwater systems are important because they prevent or mitigate undesirable conditions such as flooding, erosion, and pollution of water bodies.
What are some typical improvements to stormwater systems?
Improvement projects for stormwater systems vary greatly in size and expense. Sometimes, fixing a drainage problem may be as simple as regularly mowing the roadside ditch, or it may require an expensive and disruptive project, such as upsizing the underground stormwater pipes through an entire subdivision. Preventative maintenance can increase the useful life of such large-scale projects.
How are these projects funded?
One way that many cities have begun to finance the increasing cost of stormwater management programs is by developing and implementing a separate Storm Water Utility (SWU) Fund. A Storm Water Utility Fund can be implemented by a city to pay for programs that prevent, mitigate, and correct problems with the existing stormwater system. The City of Sachse is currently in the process of performing a rate study and evaluating alternatives to establish a stable financing mechanism for the City's stormwater management program.