Pittsburgh, PA… This spring, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) is hosting Stormwater Conversations – a series of community workshops taking place across Pittsburgh to gather feedback about the stormwater strategic planning initiatives underway and hear firsthand how stormwater impacts you.
The Critical Task of Managing Stormwater in Pittsburgh
Here in Pittsburgh, we have a stormwater management problem. In simple terms, our sewer system was not built to handle increasing amounts of rain. It was built for a different time, one where there was more green space and less of the city was paved over. Now, due to the impacts caused by climate change and more impervious surface area, there is nowhere for the water to go.
Many know what happens next: when rain falls quickly, it can overwhelm our sewer system, cause basements to backup, and pollute our rivers and streams.
That’s why PWSA is addressing our region’s stormwater challenges head on. Make no mistake that this is important work: the decisions we make today to manage stormwater will shape the future of our neighborhoods, protect our rivers, and help us better prepare for climate change.
About the Stormwater Strategic Plan
Late last year, we released the Stormwater Strategic Plan, the first phase of a long-term planning effort to address local stormwater challenges. The plan considers prevalent issues, such as neighborhood flooding and basement backups, while also looking through the lenses of equity and environmental justice.
Stormwater challenges impact many of our neighbors, and we understand those challenges look different depending on where the customer lives. Whether you know a little or a lot about this issue, your input is valuable. It will help guide us on our stormwater journey and ensure we’re considering the unique needs of our communities.
Stormwater Conversations - When, Where, What to Expect
We ask that you please join us for one of the six Stormwater Conversations we’re hosting across Pittsburgh from mid-April through early June. Each session is geared toward specific neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, but feel free to join the session that works best for you.
Recognizing that everyone learns and receives information differently, we have designed these workshops to be engaging and interactive. We encourage you to take the time to explore, talk to your neighbors, and learn from our knowledgeable facilitators.
They are broken into three sections, giving participants time to learn at their own pace and participate in small group discussion with PWSA staff and our stormwater partners.
- Settle in and Explore – Upon arrival, take your time to settle in and visit educational stations focusing on important information you should know about Pittsburgh’s sewer system, tips to improve water quality, and key terminology. Stop at a digital map to enter your experiences with stormwater.
- Setting the Framework – PWSA will provide a brief presentation about the Stormwater Strategic Plan and the concepts you should know.
- Facilitated Table Conversations – This is the main event! Attendees will break into small groups and rotate to three tables each focusing on the strategic priorities identified in the Plan. PWSA representatives and community stormwater partners will guide the conversation, answer questions, and gather any feedback you would like to provide.
We are providing ASL interpreters at each workshop, but when you register, let us know what other needs you may have so we can make your experience as easy and accessible as possible. Finally, we are serving tomato soup and grilled cheese - the quintessential comfort food to go along with rainy days.
The Stormwater Conversations are the first part of a larger community conversation. We hope you’ll join this important discussion! For more information, please visit www.pgh2o.com/events-meetings and use the QR Code to register.