The City of Pensacola is one of the oldest cities in the State of Florida, with a history of urban settlement dating back 300 years. In this coastal community, tropical storms and hurricanes have periodically reminded residents of the critical need to manage the large volumes of runoff generated in short time periods by subtropical weather systems.
Urbanization has put substantial pressure on both the natural and man-made hydrological systems to accommodate increasing amounts of runoff carrying ever more complex pollutants. Under the Clean Water Act, more restrictive federal mandates, aimed at reducing the pollution flowing into "Waters of the Nation", focus increased attention on the issue of stormwater management.
The City of Pensacola lies within a 35-square-mile watershed. Approximately 23 square miles, or 62%, of the watershed is comprised by the city. The Pensacola Watershed consists of eleven smaller hydrological distinct basins. All runoff from the watershed, and, by extension, from within the city, discharges into either Pensacola Bay or Escambia Bay.
With only a few exceptions, the runoff within the watershed passes through some feature of the city's conveyance system, discharging to Bayou Chico, or Bayou Texar in some cases, en route to Pensacola Bay.
Taking the Challenge
The City of Pensacola has responded to the stormwater challenge and has already taken important steps to improve water quality.
Another significant step is the implementation of a stormwater utility fee that will provide additional financial resources to address stormwater runoff problems.