Stormwater Management Course

Following the March 2020 workshop on Stormwater Planning in the Era of Climate Change, many municipalities expressed interest in applying downscaled precipitation projections to their own stormwater utilities. To begin to fulfill this need, Dr. Franco Montalto of Drexel University offered a course in summer 2020 for Drexel undergraduate, graduate and continuing education students (many of which were Drexel alumni) to work with interested municipalities in developing design storms for the future. The students worked with seven municipalities on the East Coast to address the following questions:

  • How should stormwater utilities update, amend, or modify their stormwater policies given observed and predicted climate change? 
  • Where and how do we obtain historical and future climate data for a given location? 
  • How uncertain and variable could future precipitation conditions be and what factors create that uncertainty and variability? 
  • What is the state of the art regarding how to factor climate change into stormwater planning? 
  • How different will future design storms be from those based on historical precipitation? 

The class was written up in the EWRI Currents newsletter in 2020.  The students presented their work to the municipalities and the public in the September 2020 CCRUN seminar. Their final reports to the municipalities can be found here: 

Watch the Adapting Stormwater Management seminar



Extreme precipitation events are occurring more frequently in many parts of the United States, according to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, and the frequency of these events are expected to grow further as the climate warms. Recent extreme events have illustrated the devastating impacts that heavy precipitation can bring to urban areas, including damaging and disruptive flooding, reduced drinking water and receiving water quality, and wastewater overflows. These extreme rainfall events also have exposed critical gaps in planning when it comes to effective urban stormwater and wastewater management in a changing climate. Planners and engineers for utilities, municipalities, departments of transportation, and other infrastructure sectors are beginning to do more to plan for extreme precipitation events, but these efforts have been highly variable, depending on location, and do not yet reflect a consensus on best practices for analysis or planning.

This workshop series was offered by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (MARISA) team and the Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast (CCRUN), both funded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Program Office.

Each workshop was organized by NOAA’s regional partners and addressed issues identified by and for each region. The workshops offered a forum for exchanging ideas to:

  • Identify gaps and improve NOAA climate and weather-related tools and information resources;
  • Provide timely and relevant weather and climate information and raise regional-scale awareness of NOAA tools and resources;
  • Build regional connections that support small-scale utility decision making; and
  • Develop improved communication materials and enhance NOAA’s tools for local decision making.

Event Information

Thursday, March 5 – Friday, March 6, 2020

Drexel University Washington D.C. Center
Lafayette Tower
801 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006

Tools Demonstrated

Pre-Workshop Webinars

Transforming Daily Global Climate Model Precipitation Output for use in Hydraulic/ Hydrologic Modeling by Mark Maimone, Senior Vice President at CDM Smith

A Practical Stochastic Weather Generator for Exploring Variability in Projected Precipitation Time Series by Mark Maimone, Senior Vice President at CDM Smith

Using Pressure Change to Stochastically Disaggregate Hourly Precipitation Series from Temperature Projections of Climate Change in The Northeast U.S. by Ziwen Yu, Assistant Professor at the University of Florida

Application of a Hybrid Approach to Downscaling and Bias Correcting IDF Curves for NYC by Eric Rosenberg, Associate at Hazen and Sawyer and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University and Art DeGaetano, Professor at Cornell University