Saving Land, Water, & Money with Low Impact Development
Solutions to conserve land, restore resources, protect water, and save money through LID and green infrastructure.
This series of five fact sheets reviews how LID can help communities save land, water, and money.
When it rains, most of us reach for an umbrella or run to close our windows, but we may not think about where all that water is heading. For communities facing flooding and the high costs of water quality regulations, it is increasingly important.
Polluted water from roads and parking lots gets washed into streams and ponds, and municipalities on tight budgets are facing millions of dollars in stormwater improvements. As forests and farmlands—which act as natural water filtration systems—are paved over, the problem grows.
There are cost-effective stormwater solutions, with a focus on Low Impact Development (LID), which works with nature rather than against it.
What Are Green Infrastructure and LID?
Green infrastructure incorporates natural features such as floodplains, forests, wetlands, and buffer areas. Green infrastructure also refers to a designed landscape that puts natural systems to work like soil and vegetation and mimics those natural processes.
LID is a category of green infrastructure that works with nature to manage stormwater and decrease the impact of development on surface and groundwater. The EPA defines LID as “an approach to land development (or re-development) that works with nature to manage stormwater as close to its source as possible. LID employs principles such as preserving and recreating natural landscape features, minimizing effective imperviousness to create functional and appealing site drainage that treat stormwater as a resource rather than a waste product.”
Green infrastructure and LID techniques include:
- Land use planning and regulation
- Development and redevelopment projects
- Infrastructure improvements
- Tree planting, rain gardens, green roofs, bioswales, rain barrels
How These Solutions Help Communities
Green Infrastructure and LID provide practical methods to:
- Minimize costs of development and local infrastructure maintenance (e.g. roads and stormwater)
- Reduce flooding
- Improve water quality
- Protect and restore natural features that improve quality of life and property values
The benefits extend both locally and to downstream communities. While the current focus of our workshops and technical assistance program is in the Blackstone River Watershed, the information found here about LID cost effectiveness is applicable throughout Massachusetts and beyond.