Fortunately, there is typically no need for multimillion-dollar public works projects to deal with rural stormwater. In fact, much can be done by homeowners.
Many residential water management projects are simple, and make use of natural materials. For example, swales can be built to direct water away from critical areas. More involved dispersal systems take water from a known source, such as a rooftop; cause it to flow to a specific new location, and then disperse it over a purpose-built field. In other cases, the water is captured, but instead of being dispersed, is sent to a location where it is helpful. Man-made ponds, for example, are often refilled by captured stormwater.
Rainwater detention systems don’t disperse stormwater across the land, but instead, capture it in a variety of destinations until it has a chance to soak into the ground. Rain gardens use amended soil and a combination of plants to do the job while providing wildlife habitat and a natural appearance. These rural stormwater management systems are simple to make, and don’t require an engineer’s help. However, any large project does require plenty of labor, so it is common to hire a landscape company to do the work.
Other detention systems are more obviously man-made. Gravel-lined trenches collect storm runoff and allow it to soak into the ground over time. They can be closed off along their length for infiltration-style water management, or left open for dispersion-type water handling.
Drywells are yet another option. These are basically special holes that are filled with gravel. They collect water from specific sources, such as downspouts, and allow it to disperse into the surrounding soil.
For all of these systems, having permeable ground is a constant requirement. A rural rainwater management system only works if there is somewhere for the water to go! Because of this, suitable soil or gravel needs to be brought in if the natural soil doesn’t offer enough permeability.