Why Your Community Needs Stormwater Ponds

This common flooding solution brings with it additional benefits that many communities could use

Stormwater ponds can be one of the least intrusive and most cost-effective ways to reduce flooding.

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Credit: Getty Images / Jeff Greenberg

The Takeaway

Retention ponds, detention ponds and infiltration basins protect communities from flooding without taking a lot out of the county’s budget.

  • How they work: Ponds reduce the amount of water in a channel (like a stream or river) during a flood event by providing a place for excess water. Retention and detention ponds release the water after the storm has ended. Infiltration basins move excess water deep underground.

  • Why you need them: Unlike other flood protection tools, ponds don’t require alterations to flood-affected homes

  • Why your county needs them: County officials can easily find money to pay for this method of stormwater management. Ponds can cost as little as $5 per cubic meter. A detention pond that can hold 24,000 bathtubs worth of water would cost as little as $20,000, plus the cost of land.

  • What experts say: “Many residential developers will sell lots around a stormwater pond as ‘waterfront property’ and a well-maintained one really can be a nice amenity,” Carrie Stevenson, Escambia County Coastal Sustainability Agent, told the University of Florida. “However, at their core, these are stormwater treatment mechanisms.”

Take action: Elected officials need to hear from their constituents to pursue a project like stormwater pond construction. It doesn’t take many people attending county meetings to let them know your community needs this flood project. 

  • Yes, but: Local leaders might push back on the idea of ponds because of land acquisition or objections from homeowners associations. However, the cost-effectiveness and flood protection far outweigh these minor issues.

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