Do you have ponding water in your driveway, unwanted water coursing through your yard, or do your downspouts overflow?
If so, you have a stormwater management challenge! Rural areas often lack city services like storm drains that conveniently carry stormwater away.
Most stormwater management efforts have focused on urban watersheds due to the high densities of people, pollutant sources, and impervious areas. However, rural stormwater runoff can harm rural properties and roadways and degrade rural water quality.WSU Fact Sheet: Understanding Your Site Conditions
Why is stormwater management important in rural areas?
Rural areas have many high-quality natural resources such as clear, clean streams, wild salmon, healthy forests, open pastures, and abundant wildlife. Poor stormwater management can harm water quality and impact these resources. Curbs, gutters and stormdrains on city streets help reduce flooding and, in some cases, to lead to water quality treatment. These features are often absent on country roads, rural properties, or smaller subdivisions. Rural areas can flood, even with fewer paved surfaces, fewer homes, and less traffic. Compacted gravel roads, buildings, and farm structures are susceptible to runoff problems without the benefit of big-city solutions.
Fortunately, there are many solutions to rural stormwater challenges. Many rural residents use swales, dispersion methods, rain gardens and other techniques to manage and infiltrate water on their property. Most of the options available for solving drainage problems in rural areas rely on infiltrating water into well-draining soils. If your groundwater is high and stormwater can’t infiltrate during the wet months, you may be able to safely convey water across your landscape with other techniques to a place where it can infiltrate.
When to get help
Determining which management practice is most appropriate to manage stormwater on your site may require consultation with an expert or participation in some basic training offered by your local county, Extension, or conservation district. This website seeks to outline some options, but is not provided as a substitute for professional advice. Please consult with your local planning department and be familiar with the stormwater ordinances in place in your area.