“Rainwater capture is ideal for urban areas since it reduces stormwater runoff and potable water use.” (Houston Incentives for Green Development p 12)
A year-long study identified incentives to increase sustainable stormwater infrastructure in Houston, published in August of 2019. The City Council approved the new incentives in December 2020 with encouraging guidelines.
Private developments or redevelopments with a minimum of $3 million in investment that includes at least $200,000 budgeted towards green stormwater infrastructure are eligible for a tax abatement for up to ten years. The environmental impact and the amount invested in green stormwater infrastructure determines the amount of tax abatement available per project. This would mean that a $3 million development with a $200,000 investment into stormwater infrastructure graded at the highest standard in the scoring matrix of environmental impact, could have 100% of the abatement over ten years saving $20,000 per year.
Green stormwater infrastructure is defined as techniques that aim to minimize the impact of development and mimic how rainfall interacts with the undeveloped landscape. These techniques include rainwater harvesting, green roofs, rain gardens, permeable pavements, urban forests, and many more.
The Houston Incentive report cited many benefits of rainwater harvesting for the developer, and for the great good of the public:
• Reduces building operation cost
• Reduces stormwater runoff rate and detention volume
• Reduces potable water consumption and costs
• Improves stormwater management
• Reduces burden on the public drainage system
• Conserves water
Rainwater is easily utilized for irrigation and has been used for production including for concrete, fire protection, industry, and more.
Innovative Water Solutions has a rainwater harvesting system at Houston Community College. Rainwater is collected and stored within the XL 08/02 Pioneer Water Tank for use in the greenhouse. Learn more about Innovative Water Solutions: WaterCache.com
Rainwater Equipment provided a 65,000-gallon Pioneer Water Tank for fire protection for a school in Houston. The fire fittings provide access in case of an emergency to the consistent water supply. Learn more at RainwaterEquipment.com
Where is Houston, Texas with the incentives for green development currently?
The City Council and Mayor Sylvester Turner released a press release in December 2020 of approval of the Green Stormwater Infrastructure Tax Abatement Program and updated the existing LEED tax abatement program.
Learn more at http://www.houstontx.gov/mayor/press/2020/tax-abatement-resilience-sustainability.html
Typical tax abatement programs have a process for approval, and it’s highly-anticipated to increase sustainable stormwater management.
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