June 4, 2020

An ELI Member Webinar

As Earth warms, increased water vapor in the atmosphere is fueling more intense storms and increasing the risk and intensity of flooding. These intensifying weather events are burdening municipalities’ capacity to manage stormwater, leading to increased stormwater runoff and pollutants into both local bodies of water and larger regional watersheds.  Stormwater runoff is now the fastest growing source of water pollution in many watersheds throughout the United States.

Lack of adequate and sustainable funding is a major hurdle for municipalities to effectively manage stormwater programs. In response, municipalities are increasingly implementing stormwater utility fees (SUFs) to fund their stormwater programs. From 2007-2018, the number of municipalities with SUFs increased more than 150% from 635 to 1681. Although SUFs are gaining traction as a more adequate, equitable, and sustainable revenue stream, variations in implementing SUFs–including rate structures, and credits and discounts–are generating mixed results. In some surveys, as many as 62% of municipalities with SUFs reported inadequate funding for stormwater programs. However, SUF-advocates argue that despite possible shortcomings, these fees offer a better funding mechanism than traditional revenue sources, and they have the potential to incentivize green infrastructure projects.

What are the best practices for municipalities to implement SUFs? What role might the growing trend of SUFs play in mitigating stormwater runoff and watershed pollution? How are NGOs, states, and the federal government responding to assist municipalities manage stormwater? Our panelists explored these questions and discussed the opportunities and challenges in stormwater management.

Panelists:
Rafe Petersen, Partner, Holland & Knight, Moderator
Michael Curley, Visiting Scholar, Environmental Law Institute
Greg Hoffmann, Director of Stormwater Services, Center for Watershed Protection
Amy Kay, Clean Water Manager, City of Davenport, Iowa  
Alison Prost, Maryland Executive Director, and Acting Federal Policy Director, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Materials:
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