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Low impact design - Frequently asked questions

What is “Low Impact Development”?

Low Impact Development, or LID, is an integrated property design approach used to address stormwater and environmental impacts often associated with conventional land development.

Why is LID so important?

The goal of LID is to reduce stormwater runoff and to treat pollutants where they are generated.

How does LID work?

LID works first with appropriate property planning and then by directing stormwater towards small-scale systems that are dispersed through the site with the purpose of managing water in a naturally controlled manner.

Won’t my costs go up if I implement LID practices?

LID is great for your wallet! The truth is, property owners, developers and builders can often save money or be cost neutral plus reduce environmental impacts in a practical manner when utilising LID techniques and practices. When implemented into initial property-planning and design, LID systems allow for elimination or downsizing of stormwater detention ponds, curbs and gutters and other traditional infrastructure, which offsets the cost of LID specific design features. When retrofitted (meaning installed after a property has already been developed or built on) it helps homeowners save money (such as by collecting rain and/or greywater).

Is LID a “one-size-fits-all” approach?

Because LID embraces a variety of useful techniques for controlling runoff, designs can be customised according to specific requirements and site constraints. In other words, no matter how big or small your property and/or wallet is, you will always be able to embrace some aspect of LID and ‘make it your own’.

I have a really small property – can I really fit in any LID methods?

The benefit of LID is that you can adjust it to your needs. Whether you do that by adapting an existing garden into a raingarden or installing an underground rainwater tank or a rain barrel, you can make it suit your requirements. You don’t have to have a large property in order to take advantage of LID techniques and practices.

What different LID techniques are used today?

Examples of LID techniques include rainwater tanks or barrels, greywater collection systems, swales, permeable pavements, soakholes, stream daylighting, and urban forests.

How does LID differ from or relate to other stormwater management practices?

The most significant difference between LID practices and conventional stormwater management systems is that it is multi-dimensional. LID has a number of purposes other than stormwater disposal (which is the main purpose of traditional systems), such as treatment, visual enhancement and protecting and enhancing the values and functions of natural ecosystems.

What are the benefits of LID?

LID is associated with a vast array of benefits not only for property owners but for the community and environment as well. Some of the main benefits include enhanced water quality, conservation of water, saving of money, enhancement of existing stormwater management, prevention of erosion, and creation of a greener, more visually appealing landscape.

Can LID apply to redevelopment and infill development?

LID methods can be used in any situation, whether at the start of a development or as a retrofit. It can be used in both rural and urban areas and would be of benefit to any landowner in any environment.