- Stormwater has traditionally been conveyed off a developed site as quickly as possible, primarily through pipes. This runoff is often stored in large ponds and/or treated in central facilities. As cities grow and development continues, more runoff is generated via impervious surfaces. Excessive runoff impacts the water quality of water bodies near and far and alters the natural water cycle. The growing volumes of runoff are making it increasingly difficult for cities across the country to manage stormwater. A new practice, Low Impact Development (LID) as applied to stormwater, aims to infiltrate runoff on site and mimic the natural hydrologic process.
Informal interviews were conducted with city staff from eighteen cities in western Oregon. The goal of the study was to identify barriers cities face toward LID implementation and approaches cities take to implement LID. The study also looked at four city characteristics; population, growth rate, geographic location and city governance to identify correlations between city characteristics and the barriers they face or approaches they take. The study reports several known, documented barriers and approaches, but also examines several newer barriers and approaches and suggests there is unique combination of barriers and approaches for each city, which may impact the ease of LID adoption in that city. The study also examines some of the inherent properties of LID and concludes that because the innovative qualities of LID, such as relative advantage and compatibility, it is a practice that will likely take decades to fully adopt. This exploratory study could provide information to complete a future more statistically sound study which could then further aid policy recommendations. Furthermore, results of this study and future studies could provide insight on the most effective and efficient methods to promote LID on a local level.