Approved by the Energy, Environment, and Water Policy Committee on March 30, 2018
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 6, 2018
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2018
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the management of stormwater runoff to reduce water pollution, prevent flooding, and use as a water source rather than a waste product. To that extent, ASCE encourages:
- Coordinated and streamlined federal, state, and local regulatory programs;
- Recognition that stormwater problems need coordination at the watershed level - which often cross political boundaries - and require flexibility to reflect site-specific and regional conditions;
- Updated technical guidance manuals that reflect new data on increased frequency and magnitude of rainfall and runoff;
Technologies and policies that encourage the harvesting of stormwater runoff to offset potable and non-potable water sources during periods of drought;
- Use of Low Impact Development and Green Infrastructure approaches to stormwater management;
- Regulatory approaches that focus on meeting receiving water quality standards utilizing best management practices;
- Asset management approaches to stormwater utilities that include life-cycle costs, inspection, and operations and maintenance; and
- Funding for research and implementation of sustainable, cost-effective approaches to stormwater management.
Urbanization and other land use changes lead to increased stormwater runoff quantity, decreased infiltration to groundwater, and increased pollution to our waterways, including fertilizers, wastewater leaks, and increased temperature. This results in flooding, loss of property to erosion, reduction in base-flow, loss of aquatic habitat, and contaminated water used for drinking and recreation. Additionally, our nation's stormwater infrastructure - pipes, storm drains, detention ponds, and open channels - is increasingly inadequate due to age, lack of maintenance, and increased storm size and frequency. Finally, climate extremes are bringing longer and more frequent cycles of drought.
The combined effects of infrastructure aging and increases in urbanization and precipitation extremes heightens the importance of stormwater management in civil infrastructure planning, not only from the perspective of managing negative impacts of runoff, but also from the perspective of stormwater as a water supply source. It is important for policy makers to understand that increased risk and aged assets will need both financial and policy initiatives to protect life, safety, and the environment that sustains us.
ASCE Policy Statement 441
First Approved in 1995