bidding process. Such a bidding process (“reverse auction”) would request proposals for stormwater reduction projects and fund projects that reduce volume at the least cost. Proposed investments that can meet the program objectives at the lowest per unit cost would receive payments. Such a program creates private incentives to search for low-cost stormwater investments by creating a price for runoff volume reduction. The bidding program could also be used to identify cost-effective stormwater investments in areas targeted for enhanced levels of restoration. A bidding program has been proposed as a way to lower overall costs of a stormwater program in Southern California (Cutter et al., 2008). Revenue to fund such a competitive bid program could come from a variety of sources including stormwater utility fees or fees paid into an in lieu fee program.

Finally, impact fees on new developments can be structured in a way to create incentives to reduce stormwater runoff volumes. Charges based on runoff volume (or a surrogate measure like impervious surface) can provide an incentive for developers to reduce the volume of new runoff created.


The implementation of SCMs has seen variable success. Environmental awareness, threats to potable water sources or to habitat for threatened and endangered species, problems with combined sewer overflows, and other environmental factors have caused cities such as Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Chicago, Illinois; and Austin, Texas to aggressively pursue widespread implementation of a broad range of SCMs. In contrast, other cities have been slow to implement recommended practices, for many reasons. This is particularly true for nonstructural SCMs, despite their popularity among planners and regulators for the past two decades. A host of real and perceived concerns about individual nonstructural SCMs are often raised regarding development costs, market acceptance, fire safety, emergency access, traffic and parking congestion, basement seepage, pedestrian safety, backyard flooding, nuisance conditions, maintenance, and winter snow removal operations. While most of these concerns are unfounded, they contribute to a culture of inertia when it comes to code change (CWP, 1998a, 2000a). As a result, some nonstructural SCMs are discouraged or even prohibited by local development codes. Very few communities make the consideration of nonstructural practices a required element of stormwater plan review, nor do they require that they be considered early in the site layout and design process when their effectiveness would be maximized. Finally, many engineers and planners feel they can fully comply with existing stormwater criteria without resorting to nonstructural SCMs.

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