Stormwater Management

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Program Overview

The City’s municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) consists of gutters, inlets, catch basins and channels. Most of the storm water navigates through the MS4 before finally draining into the Whitewater Channel. The MS4 is intended to route storm water quickly from the streets through its drains. However, during a heavy storm, the MS4 also collects urban run-off as it routes this water. Pollutants such as chemicals, trash and debris from lawns, parking lots and streets, either intentionally or accidentally spilled, are drained into the Whitewater Channel; which is ultimately absorbed into our groundwater.

The most common storm water pollutants in Cathedral City are generated from daily activities. These pollutants are picked up as water (from rain, hoses, sprinklers, etc.) drains from streets, parking lots, and lawns and enters the Whitewater Channel untreated. Simply, anything dumped or spilled on the ground and drain into the gutters contributes to storm water pollution. 

The City's Storm Water Management Program includes, but is not limited to:

  • Assisting the development community in plan review so they comply with post-construction Water Quality Management Plan requirements
  • Conducting outreach and public education
  • Eliminating illegal discharges
  • Identifying pollutant sources
  • Inspecting businesses and construction sites
  • Monitoring water quality
  • Promoting Best Management Practices (BMPs)


  • City of Cathedral City’s Storm Water Ordinance: This Ordinance (CCMC Title 15.10) outlines the City's NPDES requirements in accordance with the NPDES MS4 Permit.
  • Storm Water Management Plan (SWMP): The Storm Water Management Plan acts as the City's standard operating procedures (SOP)  for managing runoff to comply with the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) MS4 Permit.
  • NPDES MS4 Permit: This Permit outlines the City's water quality requirements mandated by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Colorado River Basin Region.
  • Stormwater Best Management Practices Handbooks: The City adopted these handbooks as BMP standards for new developments, construction sites, industrial and commercial businesses, and municipal activities.

For more information, please visit the Riverside County Flood Control website.