Feb 24, 2021

WEF Releases National MS4 Needs Assessment Survey Results

The new MS4 Needs Assessment Survey Results Report is available


water drop

The Water Environment Foundation (WEF) has released the results from its 2020 National Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Needs Assessment Survey.

According to a WEF press release, the 2020 survey identified that the storm water sector in the United States "faces an estimated $8.5 billion annual funding gap." 

The 2020 estimated gap is a 10% increase over the funding gap found in WEF's 2018 survey, the press release reported. Additionally, the 2020 survey found that "municipal governments annually spend an estimated $18 billion to $24 billion on storm water infrastructure programs."

The 2020 survey received 804 responses from 47 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, reported the press release. According to the survey, the top three challenges for all permittees are aging infrastructure, lack of funding or availability of capital, and increasing or expanding regulations.

“The storm water infrastructure that is vital to the health of our communities and our environment is in desperate need of increased and sustained investment,” said WEF President Lynn Broaddus in the press release. “Storm water infrastructure is an integral part of our overall water infrastructure and it is imperative that it be included in any infrastructure package developed by the Biden Administration and Congress.”

Additionally, the survey revealed a greater need for informational/technical resources for funding and financing, asset management, and watershed-based storm water planning.

The 2020 National MS4 Needs Assessment Survey Results Report was released in February 2021.

A new feature of the MS4 Needs Assessment Survey is an online tool that enables users to filter data by permittee type, geographic region, and other characteristics, reported the WEF Stormwater Institute. This information aims to improve the understanding of the challenges, needs, and drivers for storm water programs. The Data Dashboard will be available to users by Feb. 25, 2021.

The WEF Stormwater Institute has completed two National Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Needs Assessment surveys with the objectives of: 

  • Better understanding MS4 program challenges;
  • Identifying the information and resource needs of MS4 permittees, and;
  • To approximate current funding levels and estimated funding needs in the MS4 sector.

The first survey was completed in 2018.

According to the WEF Stormwater Institute, in 2018, it polled more than 600 MS4 permittees to identify common challenges and needs among U.S. storm water managers. The results of the survey highlighted needs for  sources of funding, infrastructure renewal or replacement, and clearer regulations among respondents, according to WEF.

The first analysis of the survey showed an estimated $7.5 billion annual funding gap and also revealed priorities and challenges across the U.S.

The full results of the 2018 survey can be found here:

2018 Survey Results – Executive Summary (September 2018)

2018 Survey Results – Full Report (May 2019)