Stormwater in Our Region and Plan

Polluted stormwater runoff is the leading cause of water quality degradation and impaired waters in the Metro Water District.

Despite marked improvement in stormwater management, more than 1,500 miles of stream within the region do not meet state water quality standards, primarily due to non-point pollution.

A waterbody is listed as impaired when it fails to meet general federal water quality standards, or the specific standards for its designated use determined by the state. As outlined in the Clean Water Act, Georgia’s 305(b)/303(d) list of impaired waters helps the state and federal agencies keep track of what waters are impaired and by what pollutant. The U.S. EPA requires that total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) be determined for waterbodies where water quality standards have not been met. TMDL is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still safely meet water quality standards.

The Metro Water District addresses stormwater pollution and impaired waters through the watershed management strategies as well as the public awareness and education efforts of the Clean Water Campaign. The District also facilitates a comprehensive water quality monitoring effort to evaluate progress in meeting water quality goals.


Access to clean water is important for our safety and vitality.

The Metro Water District evaluates a wide spectrum of management strategies to develop a comprehensive regional program that protects our water quality and promotes watershed health. The Watershed Management Plan includes five model ordinances required of all local jurisdictions as well as regional and state policy recommendations. Additional measures to be implemented by cities and counties within the Metro Water District cover:
  • watershed planning and conditions assessment
  • land development
  • stormwater asset management
  • pollution prevention
  • public awareness
Metro Water District partners have worked aggressively over the past five years implementing these management measures. All local governments within the 15 counties have passed a version of their required ordinances at the local level. Further, during 2014, more than 50 percent of local governments within the Metro Water District engaged in activities directly related to improving watershed health such as carrying out stormwater projects, applying for grants or prioritizing watersheds to receive projects.

Did You Know?


Source Water Supply Watersheds

Communities with water supply source watersheds within their jurisdictions must implement additional activities to protect public drinking water supplies. These include adoption of drinking water supply watershed buffers, coordination between local jurisdictions and water providers on issues related to source water supply protection and implementation of interjurisdictional agreements. Specific subtasks and implementation guidance are provided in this measure.

Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Watersheds

Jurisdictions with water bodies that that do not meet water quality standards must develop an implementation plan to meet the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) budget. TMDL implementation plans outline stakeholder actions that can address the water quality impairment. Non-point source pollution is the major cause of water quality impairment in the Metro Water District and this measure is important to assess and improve water quality in streams with TMDLs.

Model Ordinances

The Metro Water District’s five model stormwater management ordinances are important for controlling non-point source pollution and address a variety of stormwater-related issues including post-development (after construction) stormwater runoff, floodplain management, stream buffer protection, illicit discharge and illegal connections to the stormwater system and litter control. Cities and counties within the Metro Water District are required to adopt the model ordinances or similar ordinances that are at least as effective.
Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District