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Storm Water Management

What is Storm Water Management?

The water in our rivers, lakes and streams is not pure water you can drink. In fact, in studies conducted throughout the United States it has been proven that some of our rivers, lakes and streams are not even safe to swim, fish, wade, ski or canoe in.

There are many sources of the reasons why they are not pure or clean. We would all like to place the blame all on commercial and industrial businesses, however, we as individuals are responsible as well.

The rain that falls on our lawns, rooftops, driveways, streets and parking lots are all picking up fertilizers, herbicides, carwash soap, grease, oils and other bacteria from trash and litter as well as the mud from construction sites and carrying them into our water sources.

Storm Water Management is a process where communities monitor different sources of possible pollutants to try to mainstream and keep them from entering our water sources.

Have you heard of the Water Cycle (Hydrologic Cycle)?

Water Cycle DiagramThe Water Cycle is the life cycle of water. Like all life cycles, the water cycle forms a continuous pattern that can be started at any stage in the process.

The sun is like an engine for the water cycle, helping to keep it running smoothly.

Many don't understand the process that is being displayed in every day life and how long it takes to get from the first step to the last step, rain.

4 steps are in the Water Cycle:

1. Evaporation - this occurs when water transforms from liquid to gas, usually as a result of the sun's warming rays. Evaporation often technically includes transpiration from plants (the vapor they "breathe" out as they grow), though together they are specifically referred to as evapotranspiration.

2. Condensation - this occurs as the vapor rises into the atmosphere, creating clouds and fog. Once clouds are formed, advection -- the movement of water in its various states -- through the atmosphere. Without advection, the cycle would screech to a halt, as the water would evaporate and precipitate (the next step) in the same place.

3. Precipitation - this occurs when the vapor that condensed comes back out of the sky as rain, snow, sleet or hail. Most of it comes back to the ground or body of water, but some of it is intercepted by plant foliage and evaporates back to the atmosphere instead of making it to the ground, in a process called "canopy interception".

4. Runoff - this is the process by which water moves across land and includes both surface runoff -- when water travels over land -- and channel runoff -- when it gets into streams and rivers. As it bubbles and rambles along, it can drain into the ground, evaporate into the air, run into and become stored in lakes or reservoirs, or be gathered up for human uses.

So, in simple terms:

  • Evaporation is when the moisture rises up into the sky.
  • Condensation is when it all moves together and forms clouds.
  • Precipitation is Rain, snow, sleet, hail.
  • Runoff is the process in which the water moves across land and into streams and rivers or absorbs into our ground water.
  • Transpiration is the water that is left on the plants, trees, shrubs after evaporation occurs.