Every plumber knows the rule: water flows downhill. It's a fact of life for people everywhere — including sparsely populated Burleigh County, North Dakota, where policymakers are working to revise the county's rules for stormwater management in new housing developments.

The Bismarck Tribune reported on the county's efforts on November 29 (for the complete Tribune item, see: "Burleigh fine-tuning stormwater drainage ordinance," by LeAnn Eckroth). "Burleigh County will tighten its stormwater drainage ordinance for builders and developers to lower surface water flood risks," the paper reports. "As developments grow to the north, east and south of Bismarck, rural surface flooding complaints have increased, said County Engineer Marcus Hall. On Nov. 18, he submitted the draft zoning ordinance to the county commission in hopes it is approved before Jan. 1."

Stormwater effects on surface streams and lakes come under state and federal regulation, Hall noted, but surface flooding of neighboring properties is a local matter. Reports the Tribune: "Hall said developers are sometimes not aware or always concerned with making hydraulics work when it comes where drainage water will go or where it will come from when new rural homes are placed. "At the end of the day, they're gone once they've sold the property,' he said. 'That puts the burdens on the local governments and homeowners to deal with.'"