Making It Rain: Effective Stormwater Fees Can Create Jobs, Build Infrastructure, and Drive Investment in Local Communities

Issue Brief
April 10, 2018

David B. Gleason/Flickr

Stormwater management is a public good: it can help keep pollution out of our waterways and promote the growth of green infrastructure, among many other benefits. However, it can be challenging for localities to pay for the infrastructure improvements needed to reduce the volume of polluted stormwater runoff.

This issue brief explains how a stormwater fee can provide a steady stream of funding for stormwater management. We present a suite of strategic recommendations for local governments in the process of initiating stormwater fees and accompanying programs. These recommendations position stormwater management as an opportunity to fund and build infrastructure, fairly apportion costs, create jobs, and invest in improvements to communities.

We argue that an impervious area–based stormwater fee can help attribute costs in proportion to how much stormwater runoff a property generates. We also reference real-world examples from around the country, with a special focus on the Chesapeake Bay watershed—a region where stormwater fee programs are relatively common.