Left: Landscaped areas and pervious surfaces capture runoff, reducing the quantity of pollutants flowing into local creeks. Right: Runoff and pollutants flow directly into local creeks via storm drains
In natural landscapes, rain that falls on the ground mostly soaks, or infiltrates, into the soil. However, in urban areas, impervious surfaces such as roofs, pavement, and streets, prevent infiltration. This results in an increase in stormwater runoff and pollutants flowing into storm drains, local creeks, and the Bay.
Cities and towns in Santa Clara Valley are working together to create sustainable or green streets, buildings, and parking lots that mimic natural landscapes by incorporating green stormwater infrastructure features. These features allow rainwater runoff to soak into the ground and be filtered by soil. This reduces the quantity of water and pollutants flowing into storm drains and local creeks.
Green stormwater infrastructure features include the following:
- Dispersion of Stormwater Runoff into Landscaping
- Bioretention Areas or Rain Gardens
- Rainwater Harvesting and Use
- Green Roofs
- Pervious Concrete, Porous Asphalt, and Pervious Pavers
- Infiltration Trench
Local municipalities are developing Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Plans to incorporate green stormwater infrastructure features into new and existing drainage infrastructure on public properties and rights-of-way, including streets, storm drains, and parking lots. SCVURPPP has developed a guidance document (“Green Stormwater Infrastructure Handbook”) to provide guidance to municipal staff on how to incorporate green stormwater infrastructure features into public street, parking lot and park retrofit projects.
Click here for a map of example local projects that have integrated green stormwater infrastructure features. For more information on how green stormwater infrastructure features help our communities, please visit the Green Streets webpage on the Watershed Watch website.
See below for spotlight fact sheets on local and regional Green Street projects
- Martha Gardens Alley, San Jose
- Hacienda Avenue, Campbell
- Southgate Neighborhood Green Streets Project, Palo Alto