What are the Key Benefits of a Stormwater Utility?
Build Critical Infrastructure
Increase capacity and quality of your systems and protect your community against flooding.
Improve Your Environment
Tackle environmental problems, such as poor water quality and erosion control, focus on green solutions, and proactively plan for climate change implications.
Fund Your Future
Create a stable, dedicated, and equitable source of revenue for stormwater projects and services now and in the future.
Support Economic Development
Stormwater infrastructure investments can improve the appearance of neighborhoods, and may support the local workforce.
Project Examples: Green infrastructure that absorbs stormwater on site, such as stormwater wetlands and bioswales. Traditional gray infrastructure such as levees, detention basins, and flood mitigation berms.
Project examples: Buffer strips along water bodies, treatment systems that inactivate nutrients or increase aeration, and habitat modification. Projects that control the rate of runoff and restore stream or river banks.
Project examples: Green infrastructure, such as tree box catch basins, vegetated parking medians, and bioretention swales spruce up a community’s appearance while controlling stormwater.
Finally, one of the most critical characteristics of a stormwater utility is that it raises funds in a stable, dedicated, and equitable manner.
Revenue is generated continually, usually in monthly or quarterly billings. With stable funding, localities can proactively plan and budget for projects, thus avoiding costly repairs that normally occur in a system of deferred maintenance.
A stormwater user fee that is based on impervious area provides a more equitable approach to recover costs from all properties that contribute runoff. When stormwater costs are recovered through other mechanisms such as taxes or sewer charges, tax-exempt properties (e.g., universities, hospitals) or properties that do not have any water/sewer services(e.g., parking lots) would not pay their fair share of the cost of managing stormwater.
Fees generated from the utility are placed in a dedicated enterprise fund that supports stormwater projects and programs. Unlike in a typical municipal budget, the stormwater utility fees can’t be shifted to pay for other expenditures.