The USGS website (usgs.gov) explains how water travels best: “When rain falls onto the earth, it doesn’t just sit there, it starts moving according to the laws of gravity. A portion of the precipitation seeps into the ground to replenish the Earth's groundwater. Most of it flows downhill as runoff. Runoff is extremely important in that not only does it keep rivers and lakes full of water, but it also changes the landscape by the action of erosion.
In cases of developed areas where stormwater cannot infiltrate into the ground because of impervious areas, more runoff occurs. In urbanized areas, runoff must be collected by “extensive drain systems that consist of curbs, storm sewers, and ditches to carry stormwater directly to streams. More simply, in a developed watershed, much more water arrives into a stream more quickly, resulting in an increased likelihood of more frequent and more severe flooding.”
Polluted stormwater runoff can be harmful to plants, animals, and people. Understanding that our water systems are all connected and by helping to keep our stormwater clean, can help keep our rivers, lakes and streams clean.
Help out our local water systems by keeping “only rain, down the storm drain.”
- Plant trees
- Disconnect/redirect downspouts
- Use a rain barrel to capture rain from your roof
- Plant a rain garden
- Reduce impervious surfaces