ISSUE: Stormwater Infrastructure Improvements Are Progressing through Neighborhoods as Part of a 15-Year Plan

FACT: Virginia Beach leadership is committed to addressing the increasing threats of recurrent flooding and sea level rise by completing a number of projects that are in various stages of development and construction.
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Stormwater MenuIn fact, over the next six years, spending for stormwater infrastructure improvements is projected to be greater than any other area of the City’s capital improvement plan. However, it’s not a problem that can be solved overnight.

​In the FY18 budget, City Council approved a $300 million storm water program, which includes about $200 million for seven major neighborhood projects, three of which are Windsor Woods, Princess Anne Plaza, and the Lakes. The remaining $100 million is split between increased Operations and Maintenance of the existing system, and unfunded state and federal water quality mandates.  Additionally, on February 6, 2018, City Council appropriated $5.3 million from FEMA reimbursements to the​ Windsor Woods Drainage CIP.

The Windsor Woods, Princess Anne Plaza, and the Lakes projects are fully funded in the 15-year program, and are the only three projects in the program to have full funding.  Other neighborhoods with storm water needs were only partially funded, or in some cases, not funded at all based on assessed needs and citizen feedback.

When a neighborhood has stormwater issues, it's important to remember that one street is connected to a much larger system. There are 31 watersheds in Virginia Beach. All of them are somehow interconnected – by natural means, man-made canals and ditches, or a combination of the two.

Because of the connected nature of the watersheds, a number of scientific models and engineering​ studies have to be done to see how any changes will impact a watershed downstream. For example, a pump being considered for Winsor Woods will move 7,000 gallons of water per second. That's enough to fill a small swimming pool – every second. And that water has to go somewhere. In this case, out the Lynnhaven River, the Chesapeake Bay and eventually the ocean.

Once the engineers determine the best course of action, the City has to apply for the necessary state and federal permits. Residents must also be given opportunities to hear the plan and weigh in with their feedback. Those parts of the process can take up to two years on some projects.

Construction in residential areas is typically done in 1,000-foot segments. The main reason: The adverse impact to residents in a neighborhood. The work would certainly go faster if the City or its contractor went in and tore up an entire subdivision street at one time, but anyone who lives there wouldn't be able to get to or from their home for the better part of a year. And that's not a workable solution for our residents.

​For additional information about stormwater improvements, please refer to the council briefing and letters to City Council from City Manager Dave Hansen.

Want to get interactive? Head over to https://gisapps.vbgov.com/map/ and you can see the watersheds in Virginia Beach, as well as locations of various stormwater infrastructure components such as pump stations, spillways and ditches.

To activate different layers of the map, click on the layers button (the one with three stacked squares) and select "Storm_Water" from the list. There are options to expand the list further and toggle different pieces. You can even zoom in to your neighborhood and see what's nearby.​