The Regional Stormwater Management Program (RSMP) is an alternative means of compliance to the City of Austin’s detention requirements. Funding the Watershed Protection Department receives through the program is used for planning, designing, and constructing drainage infrastructure improvements to reduce the risk of flooding.

About RSMP 

RSMP participation is an alternative means of compliance to onsite detention requirements for development applicants who demonstrate that no onsite detention is necessary to prevent adverse flooding impacts to neighboring properties from increased runoff. 

RSMP application types include Drainage Criteria Manual (DCM) 1.2.2.G, DCM 8, and Prior RSMP Participation. The DCM 1.2.2.G and DCM 8 RSMP application types are for sites without an executed RSMP Agreement for the proposed impervious cover. A site with Prior RSMP Participation must have an executed RSMP Agreement. 

Feasible developments may make a payment or construct approved offsite drainage infrastructure improvements in lieu of onsite stormwater detention. 

The Watershed Protection Department (WPD) collects and spends RSMP funds in the same watershed on projects that reduce flood risk. WPD uses a watershed-wide approach to analyze potential flooding problems and identify appropriate mitigation measures. 

RSMP History

The City of Austin experienced deadly floods during the 1980s. Our neighbors lost lives, homes, and businesses to the floodwaters that surged due partly to increased stormwater runoff across the city. 

Austin has since implemented changes to reduce flood risks to people and property, including adding a detention requirement for stormwater runoff increases due to development or redevelopment. Responsible stormwater management becomes increasingly crucial as our rain events become more intense than previously recorded. 

The City of Austin established RSMP in the 1980s as an alternative to the stormwater detention requirement for qualifying developments. RSMP participants either construct drainage improvements that provide significant public benefits or pay into watershed RSMP funds. WPD uses RSMP funds for many types of flood risk mitigation projects, including: 

  • Watershed strategic plans 
  • Property buyouts 
  • Land and easement acquisitions 
  • RSMP continues to grow and change to provide applicants with more participation options and improved programming. 
  • Regional pond facility, storm drain, culvert, and channel upgrades and modifications. 

RSMP continues to grow and change to provide applicants with more participation options and improved programming. 

Application & Participation Types

DCM 1.2.2.G & DCM 8 & Prior RSMP Participation 

Qualifying developments may apply for RSMP in one of three ways, depending on site and project characteristics.

DCM 1.2.2.G participation allows applicants to adhere to simplified RSMP participation requirements for smaller sites.  

Small developments within the DCM 1.2.2.G.1 size requirements, the site’s most restrictive impervious cover limits, and that do not discharge increased runoff to neighboring properties may qualify for RSMP participation per DCM 1.2.2.G. See the DCM language for more details. 

A subdivision or plat application may require a site plan exemption if grading is required to meet DCM 1.2.2.G.4. 

DCM 8 RSMP participation is for larger projects that do not meet DCM 1.2.2.G participation criteria. DCM 8 participation requires detailed modeling and drainage analysis to prove no adverse flooding impact on a receiving storm system, creek, or neighboring property. Find more information about the required analyses in the Participation Guidance document. 

Prior RSMP Participation may apply to redevelopments on the same site as the original RSMP Agreement since RSMP Agreements are bound to the land.  

The RSMP Team assesses each incoming RSMP application claiming Prior RSMP Participation on a case-by-case basis to investigate whether the past Agreement applies to the new development application. 

Proposed plats and subdivisions, especially those participating per DCM 8, that will require significant review or modeling must complete a Project Assessment before formal review. 

Payment & Improvements 

Applicants must demonstrate that no adverse flooding impacts to neighboring properties will occur due to the proposed development to participate in RSMP.  

For developments proposing RSMP participation per DCM 8, the RSMP Team requires models and drainage calculations to confirm no adverse impact on the receiving storm drain infrastructure, tributary, or creek.  

RSMP approval for qualified developments and redevelopments is at the discretion of the RSMP Team.  

There are two ways to participate in RSMP: 

Payment into a watershed RSMP fund. WPD uses RSMP funds within the same watershed to mitigate local and regional flood risk issues.  

Improvements to offsite drainage infrastructure. Applicants may apply the amount of the RSMP Payment to drainage infrastructure improvements that provide a significant public benefit. The RSMP Team must approve the proposed improvements. 

Participation Process

The RSMP Application process consists of three main steps: 

1) RSMP Feasibility Determination 

2) Formal RSMP Application Package Review 

3) RSMP Approval or Conditional Approval 

1) RSMP Feasibility Determination

A) Use the RSMP Feasibility Viewer to provide initial guidance regarding whether RSMP participation is potentially feasible for a development project 

We consider:  

  • Watershed RSMP participation 
  • Site location relative to its watershed, tributary, and drainage area  
  • Local flooding concerns  
  • Stormwater infrastructure condition and capacity  
  • Regional detention facilities nearby  
  • DCM 1.2.2.G and DCM 8 participation eligibility   
  • Prior RSMP Participation   
  • Proposed conditions  
  • Other relevant site-specific characteristics

The RSMP Team makes the final feasibility determination for RSMP participation. The RSMP Feasibility Viewer does not account for grading or potential adverse impacts that can affect RSMP participation for a project. 

Submit the RSMP Feasibility Determination Request Form to for projects in the right of way. 

B) Attend the RSMP Feasibility Meeting 

The RSMP and project teams will review basic RSMP participation requirements and processes. We’ll also address any site-specific concerns and anticipated challenges to RSMP approval. 

Bring drainage area maps, preliminary site layouts, drainage calculations for existing and proposed conditions, No Adverse Impact (NAI) analyses, and other relevant information.

2) Formal RSMP Application Package Review

C) Submit a COMPLETE RSMP Application Package to DSD Intake for completeness check, then to formal review

Include the RSMP Application Form and all requested Supporting Documentation as a complete RSMP Application Package. 

Preliminary plan and final plat applications must submit complete RSMP Application Packages at formal review update zero (U0) to participate in RSMP. All other applications must submit complete RSMP Application Packages to pass Completeness Check. 

See the Participation Guidance PDF for further information.

Note: The RSMP Team does not review applications outside the formal review cycle. Anything submitted for RSMP review must be submitted through DSD Intake to be formally approved.

Optional: To ensure the RSMP Team receives the entire RSMP Application Package, applicants may send the materials to in addition to DSD Intake. 

D) Satisfy all RSMP and drainage review comments

We consider:  

  • RSMP Application Package (RSMP Application Form with all applicable Supporting Documentation) 
  • DCM compliance  
  • Potential adverse flooding impacts  
  • Drainage area maps & plans
  • Grading plans  
  • Engineering reports and summaries  
  • Drainage models and calculations  
  • Impervious cover allowances  
  • Property appraisal information  
  • Proposed improvements  
  • Other relevant information

For RSMP participation per a Prior RSMP Agreement, we consider: 

  • RSMP Application Package (RSMP Application Form with all applicable Supporting Documentation) 
  • Prior executed RSMP Agreement 
  • Proposed and allowable impervious cover 
  • Conditions of the Prior RSMP Agreement

3) RSMP Approval or Conditional Approval

E) Receive RSMP Approval Documentation (or Conditional Approval Documentation) and update the RSMP plat or cover sheet note

The RSMP Team will issue Approval Documentation or Conditional Approval Documentation via email and the RS folder associated with the project.

Add the date on the Approval Letter and the new RS number to the cover sheet or plat note.

Example Approval Documentation:  

  • RSMP Agreement  
  • RSMP Approval Letter  
  • RSMP Payment Calculation  
  • See the Payment page for more information

F) Return the signed RSMP Agreement

Upload the signed RSMP Agreement to the project RS folder in the AB+C Portal

G) Pay the RSMP Payment invoice or complete the agreed-upon storm drain infrastructure improvements

H) Receive the executed RSMP Agreement and get final RSMP approval on the development application

Formal Development Review

The RSMP Team assesses RSMP Application Packages within the formal development review process facilitated by the Development Services Department (DSD).

An applicant may begin the RSMP Application process by using the RSMP Feasibility Viewer to assess a site for potential RSMP participation feasibility. If the project is potentially feasible for RSMP participation, the RSMP Feasibility Viewer will direct the user to schedule a Feasibility Meeting with the RSMP Team.


<h3>Austin Watersheds List - RSMP Status</h3>
<div><iframe width="700px" title="RSMP View" height="595px" src="" frameborder="0"scrolling="no"><a href="" title="RSMP View" target="_blank">RSMP View</a></iframe></div>