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Deadline Nears for Incentive Dollars from River Authority

The San Antonio River Authority (SARA) wants to help fund your project — assuming it’s sufficiently green, in terms of meeting Low Impact Development (LID) principles — with incentives ranging from $15,000 to $100,000. But with the Tuesday, March 15 application deadline fast approaching, the time is nigh for pursuing those big bucks.

Available in Bexar, Wilson, Karnes and Goliad counties, SARA’s Watershed Wise Rebate Program rebates construction of on-site stormwater best management practices (BMPs) for new construction as well as retrofitting existing properties. In order to meet the required BMPs, projects must be designed in accordance with the San Antonio River Basin Low Impact Development Technical Guidance Manual. In addition, projects must meet a minimum reimbursement threshold of $15,000 and no more than $100,000; the unit volume rebate amount is dependent on the BMP type.

Sample Rain Garden, Courtesy SARA
Sample Rain Garden, Courtesy SARA

In terms of qualifying for a rebate, projects are assessed based on several criteria, including: the project must treat at least 60 percent of runoff from all impervious surfaces using BMPs; projects should provide open access and good exposure to serve as a pilot project; project should be able to be constructed as designed and on time; and clear site analysis and design details are critical.

Impervious Paving, Courtesy SARA
Impervious Paving, Courtesy SARA

The BMPs represent green infrastructure approaches to stormwater management, including the capture and reuse of runoff, providing important ecological benefits. The overall intent of LID approaches is to manage stormwater as it would happen in nature through design techniques that infiltrate, store, detain and evaporate runoff close to its source. Slowing the flow of water across the land helps alleviate flooding and erosion issues and allows vegetation, soils and organic processes to filter stormwater naturally. The result is improved water quality and protection of the San Antonio River Basin and wildlife. In addition, these types of systems can provide a valuable didactic function by educating children and adults about how stormwater runoff affects nearby creeks and rivers.

LID Schematic for 120 Ninth Street

Some of these techniques are already being utilized in current San Antonio projects like the ongoing redevelopment of HemisFair Park as well as River North’s newest multifamily community, 120 Ninth Street. At HemisFair Park, existing urban streets are being converted into attractive boulevards with rain gardens, providing an important stormwater function while paying homage to San Antonio’s historic acequias. At 120 Ninth Street, water captured from rooftops and street drains will pass through rain gardens that filter out pollutants before entering into the Museum Reach.

LID Schematic for 120 Ninth Street

San Antonio River Mission Reach
San Antonio River Mission Reach

Employing LID techniques supports our local ecology in vital ways and, thanks to the SARA’s Watershed Wise Rebate Program, has become much more economically viable — but with the March 15 deadline fast approaching, the time to start the application process is now.

About The Author
Caleb Etheredge
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