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Climate Change and Storm Water Utilities [U.S. Water Crisis Part Two]



Integrated Water Resource and Infrastructure Management


[01:43] Introduction of Matthew Naud.

[01:54] Matthew explains what his job as the Environmental Coordinator for the City of Ann Arbor entails.

[02:42] Matthew shares his personal background and what motivates him to do his work.

[03:33] Matthew describes his session at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference.

[04:42] What kind of water or climate-change challenges is Ann Arbor facing, and what’s being done to meet those challenges?

[06:10] What’s being done to deal with the increased amount of precipitation, and what are the implications to the community of that increased precipitation?

[08:24] Matthew explains why increased rainfall and runoff is a challenge and why the storm-water utility was created.

[10:23] Matthew shares the implications of not managing the storm-water runoff.

[11:31] In Flint, is the source of the water that is being used part of the problem?

[14:00] Are there other communities that have created this storm-water utility and taken this approach that Ann Arbor has?

[15:00] How long has Ann Arbor had that system in place?

[15:13] Did it face any legal challenges or real political pushback?

[16:14] Is funding the rest of the infrastructure equally challenging?

[18:49] What is the quantity of water that people can get for a dollar?

[19:42] Is there any reason why these approaches that are taken in Ann Arbor not broadly transferrable to other places?

[20:25] Do you get many people asking you how you do it and learning from Ann Arbor’s approach?

[21:30] Are there any other cities in Michigan that have a storm-water utility?

[21:49] Matthew shares where listeners can learn more about he’s doing in Ann Arbor.

[22:23] Matthew shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.

[23:03] Matthew explains the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.

[23:29] Matthew shares what Ann Arbor looks like 30 years from now.


Matthew Naud has been the Environmental Coordinator for the City of Ann Arbor since 2001. He staffs the City’s Environmental Commission and makes recommendations to the City Administrator, Mayor, and City Council on a broad range of sustainability issues. Mr. Naud is a member of the Urban Sustainability Director’s Network where he serves on the Planning Committee, Innovation Committee, and Small Cities User Group. Mr. Naud was recently appointed to a three year term on the USEPA Board of Scientific Counselors – Sustainable and Healthy Communities Subcommittee. He holds Masters degrees from the University of Michigan in Biology and Public Policy and an undergraduate degree from Boston College.


The city of Ann Arbor is committed to providing excellent municipal services that enhance the quality of life for all through the intelligent use of resources while valuing an open environment that fosters fair, sensitive, and respectful treatment of all employees and the community they serve. Ann Arbor has 114,000 residents, spans 28.6 square miles, and is frequently recognized as a foremost place to live, learn, work, thrive and visit ( To keep up with City of Ann Arbor information, subscribe for email updates (, follow us on Twitter ( or become a city fan on Facebook (


“We work a lot with—it’s called the Graham Sustainability Institute and they have a climate center and so for about the last five years we’ve been working together. One of the things that they’ve demonstrated is…we’ve seen a 42% increase in precipitation. We’ve seen a significant change in the amount of rain. Extreme storms are up 40%. So, that’s what we’re measuring, and it’s been great information as we go out to the community and share some of our thinking about how we’re going to need to adapt.”

“We’ve had a storm-water utility for quite a while and in 2006 redesigned it to be a true utility. So we use near-infrared flyover data. It tells you what’s photosynthesizing, what is pervious surface, and what’s hard surface. We calculate pretty much down to the square foot for every parcel, and we put folks in one of four bins, and so we basically charge people, as part of the storm-water utility, for the amount of impervious surface they have. And because it’s a utility—you have to be able to use more or less of it—we then credit people for installation of rain barrels, rain gardens.”

“Finding sustainable funding is one of the key things that cities need to do. If you’re going to, kind of, really take a long-term view and tackle these problems, you’re going to have to figure out a way to finance them.”

“With a lot more water, we’re going to get a lot more runoff—any of the chemicals, things like that—will just run to the river without any treatment at all, whereas creating these bioswales, detention ponds creates an opportunity for the water to rest there and settle before it’s released further downstream, and there’s a lot of opportunity for biological systems to treat some of the things that we don’t want to go into the river directly. And so it really is both a water-quantity remedy but also a solution to improve the water quality that ends up in the river.”


Episode 013: Access to Safe Drinking Water in Rural America [U.S. Water Crisis Part One] – In this episode, we speak with the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc. (SERCAP) about the impact lack of access to safe drinking water has on the health and economies of rural communities and the approach SERCAP is taking to remedy these dire situations.

Episode 015: A Holistic Approach to Drinking-Water Infrastructure [U.S. Water Crisis Part Three] – In this episode, we speak with Dr. Tamim Younos, Founder & President of the Green Water-Infrastructure Academy, about strategies for providing safe, sustainable drinking water.

City of Ann Arbor Sustainability

City of Ann Arbor Sustainability Action Plan

Matthew’s presentation, From Trickle to Torrent: Resilient Strategies for an Uncertain Water Future from the 2016 New Partners for Smart Growth conference

View all of the presentations from the 2016 New Partners for Smart Growth conference

New Partners for Smart Growth conference

Local Government Commission


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