Four Ways to Manage Storm-Water Runoff from Your Home

Posted on: 7 July 2016

Before embarking on a residential construction or large-scale excavation project, a homeowner or builder should consider the impact of storm-water runoff caused by the roof and impermeable surfaces such as driveways and pavements. In some jurisdictions in Australia, the legislation requires that homeowners retain storm-water that lands on their property. The implication of this legislation is that when storm-water originates from your home, it would be illegal to let it flow into neighboring properties or public property. Here are a few approaches you can use to manage storm-water runoff from your property. 

Construct Swales and Buffer Strips -- These natural or man-made depressions channel storm-water to a specific location. These fixtures enable water to seep into the soil because of the vegetation around them, which slows down the flow of the storm-water. If the terrain of your property is steep, you can lay a perforated pipe underneath the gravel to mitigate heavy water runoff.  Swales and buffer strips safely release storm-water runoff into an underground system like a soakwell.   

Install Soakwells -- Storm-water runoff can weaken the integrity of a structure because the water eventually penetrates a building's concrete or cement foundation. The building eventually sags because of the damaged foundation. The implications of this damage for the safety and health of the occupants is evident. Plastic and concrete soakwell systems will harness and disperse storm-water runoff through drains, down-pipes, and gutters. Once underground, the water dissipates into the adjacent soil.   

Build Rain Gardens -- If you are wondering what a rain garden is, think of it as the final destination for the storm-water. A swale is a road that facilitates the journey of the storm-water to this destination. Rain gardens are shallow basins akin to flower beds, which can trap a heavy downpour. The garden allows water to sink into the underground system while promoting vegetation growth. When designing a rain garden, you should choose an area that has excellent drainage for the water to gradually infiltrate into the soil. Ultimately, what you get is a nice green space on your property, coupled with enhanced water retention capability.   

Avoid Dense Paving -- There is a general misconception that thick paving reduces the need for a driveway or a carport. Contrary to this perception, you can always park your car on plain turf or grass to reduce storm-water runoff. Grass is better than concrete paving because its root system guzzles storm-water. The roots of the grass intertwine with compact soil to form a robust sod, thus reducing the degree of water runoff. Pavements are impermeable, decreasing the ability of storm-water to percolate into the ground.