Low Impact Development

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Low Impact Development is a series of techniques for reducing the runoff of water from the built environment, including green roofs, permeable paving, and distributed retention (sometimes called "rain gardens") as well as vaults and ponds for retention and infiltration of rainwater. The original purpose of LID, which differentiates it from standard construction practices, is to build water systems in the build environment that mimic the water retention properties of old conifer forest, within the build environment, so that new development has no net effect on stream and groundwater health.


  • Curtis Hineman was working at WSU Puyallup, and was one of the pioneering advocates for developing and testing LID.
  • State Ecology as the state water quality agency has promoted and published materials about LID.
  • In a ground breaking case the Pollution Control Hearings Board determined that LID was "practical" and "known and reasonable" technologies and therefore could be required by municipalities and counties 2009 Article in Forester Network
  • LID increases the cost of development, while reducing the impact of development on public infrastructure and streams.
  • There is ongoing social conflict over implementing these practice (for example see Earthjustice web article.)