In natural environments, melted snow and rainwater flow into oceans through rivers and streams or seep into the groundwater supply through the soil.

Urbanisation disrupted these natural processes due to the construction of hard surfaces like parking lots, driveways, roofs and sidewalks that prevent proper water absorption and precipitation.

The water runoff ends up in gutters and storm drains. With most areas in Australia experiencing more rainfall, stormwater pipes can become overloaded.

As a homeowner, stormwater management is vital as it’s your home’s first line of defence against extensive water damage. Let’s discuss more stormwater management as we highlight valuable tips that can help protect your home.

What is Stormwater Made Up of?

Stormwater comes from excessive rainwater flowing along surfaces, collecting debris such as soil, leaves, rubbish, sticks and chemicals from fertilisers and pesticides. This untreated water eventually ends up in oceans, lakes, and underground reservoirs.

Proper stormwater system maintenance minimises the risk of property damage while reducing pollution in the local water sources.

How is Storm Water Collected?

Collecting stormwater holds water runoff during rainy seasons to control the water volume and reduce overflow, which often causes damage. You can collect roof water, surface water, and subsoil water.

Roof Water

The best way to harvest roof water is by directing it to tanks, cisterns or rain barrels for later use. You can position these containers beneath downspouts and reuse the water for flushing, irrigation, and outdoor cleaning.

Surface Water

Collecting surface water requires you to build a shallow depression that allows the runoff to the pool. These areas reduce the runoff speed and allow natural filtration through vegetation and soil.

Subsoil Water

You can collect subsoil water from drain pipes in small in-ground reservoirs and store it for later use. Ground catchment allows you to collect more water due to a larger surface area.

Stormwater Impacts

Source of Pollution

Stormwater gets polluted as it flows over different surfaces, carrying these pollutants and disease-causing organisms into water bodies.

Besides littering the beaches and river banks with sanitary wastes, pollution makes the water unsafe for fishing, drinking, swimming and marine life.

Can Alter River Flows

Stormwater swiftly flows over impervious surfaces, which increases the runoff volume and speed. This excess stormwater alters the water flow in rivers, creeks and coasts.

Changes Flooding Patterns

Compacted soils and impervious surfaces significantly increase the runoff volume. If this excessive water flows uncontrolled, it can cause unforeseen flooding in areas that typically don’t flood.

It affects the Availability of Water for Irrigation

Stormwater runoff reduces water infiltration into the soil to replenish groundwater reserves. This affects water availability for irrigation during dry months.

Tips to Manage Stormwater Runoff

Limit the Use of Fertilisers and Pesticides

The first step in stormwater management is reducing or preventing pollutant wash-off. It’s best to avoid using toxic materials such as pesticides and fertilisers during rainy seasons unless there’s no alternative.

Remove Leaves and Other Debris

Debris, such as leaves and twigs, often accumulates and causes blockages in your stormwater drainage system. Rather than dealing with extensive water damage, it’s best to clear such debris before the rainy season.

Keep Plants and Trees Maintained

Bare soils experience more erosion, so ensure you plant a vegetative cover. Trees also reduce the runoff speed and bind the soil to prevent erosion.

Create a Rain Garden

A rain garden is a shallow depression that collects stormwater runoff, allowing it to infiltrate the soil. You can have decorative plants in your rain garden to liven up your backyard all year round. Such gardens also become habitats for beneficial insects like butterflies and birds.

Get Your Stormwater Drains Inspected Regularly

Cracked and clogged drains can easily damage your home during heavy rains. Planning annual inspections with a drainage professional to ensure your stormwater drainage system remains in shape would be best. 

A stormwater system can only be effective if clean and in shape to allow proper water flow. Work with an experienced stormwater drainage contractor to ensure your drains and pipes are functional and protect your home from damage. 


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