News | February 13, 2008

Using Rainwater To Grow Livable Communities

U.S. communities are poised to take advantage of the perfect storm. Landowner awareness of the need for water-smart landscaping practices is intersecting with government planning requirements to manage stormwater… and everyone can benefit from innovative ideas on how to use rainwater to grow livable communities.

The Water Environment Research Foundation recently unveiled a new website,, that gives landscape architects, designers, engineers, stormwater managers, elected officials and the public creative new ideas on sustainable stormwater practices. Even better, the site goes beyond the idea stage and provides practical tools, frameworks for implementation and planning aids that can be adapted to your community or project.

The new website documents dozens of tools and strategies that solve today's problems.

  • Is your community trying to deal with basement back-ups following rain events? Learn how Portland school facilities manage up to 90 percent of stormwater onsite, preventing sewer back-ups in neighboring houses by providing a safe outlet for stormwater.
  • Are you concerned about street flooding? See how Kansas City receives citizen praise for its voluntary marketing initiative that inspired over 500 (and still counting) homeowners, businesses, and community groups to install small-scale, attractive rain gardens, rain barrels and greenroofs, all contributing to runoff reduction.
  • Are landscape customers demanding sustainable, water-smart designs? Check out the practical guide to considerations in designing and installing appealing green infrastructure.
  • Does your town need to update its regulations to introduce sustainable management practices and better design initiatives? Review Milwaukee's and Philadelphia's successful public education demonstrations that contributed to remarkable community consensus on regulations.

Lessons learned from these successful projects, and many more, can help community partners – private and public – integrate stormwater best management plans into development projects.

SOURCE: The Water Environment Research Foundation