Low Impact Development, or LID, is an ecosystem-based approach to land development that keeps the built environment as a functioning part of an ecosystem rather than existing apart from it. In this way, runoff characteristics from a developed site, such as flow rate, duration, and volume, may remain similar to more natural runoff conditions.
LID is defined by the Central Coast Regional Water Board (Regional Board) as minimizing or eliminating pollutants in storm water through natural processes and maintaining pre-development hydrologic characteristics, such as flow patterns, surface retention, and recharge rates. This approach is utilized in land development design processes to manage the natural occurrence of storm water at a site from rainfall. Innovative site designs will capture, store, use, and filter rainfall runoff prior to discharge to a local storm drain system, often with benefits to landscaping and other immediate green spaces. Individual, permanent storm water practices and measures are implemented spatially throughout a site’s design and result in cumulative improvements to the water quality and a reduction in storm flow quantity leaving a site.