Urban development in Columbia County has resulted in many problems within the existing stormwater drainage system. Problems such as increased flooding, stream widening and bank erosion, changes in channel beds due to sedimentation, and stormwater quality issues are pervasive throughout the urbanized portions of Columbia County. Coupled with these problems is one of an aging infrastructure. Subdivisions built in the 1970s are seeing significant problems due to issues such as the failure of metal pipe, which has a life expectancy of 25 years.
A comprehensive evaluation of the community's stormwater management needs and opportunities was undertaken starting in 1998. As a result, the Columbia County Board of Commissioners established a Stormwater Management Utility, which commenced billing in October 2000. The Utility provides dedicated funding, enabling the County to initiate comprehensive, watershed-based projects, instead of the existing, largely reactive program.