Storm Drainage Master Plan

The Storm Drainage Master Plan Project (SDMP Project) is assessing the condition of the City’s storm drainage system and identifying areas prone to flooding. The SDMP Project will create a list, including cost estimates, of high priority capital stormwater system maintenance projects for future work.

More than 300 miles of pipes below Oakland’s streets carry stormwater into waterways that flow into the San Francisco Bay. When working well, this system is barely noticeable. However, much of the City’s pipes and supporting infrastructure were built decades ago and in some areas the system is near the end of its useful life. In addition, development of vacant land over time has increased the amount and intensity of storm water runoff during storms and some areas of the system can be overwhelmed by heavy rains. The Storm Drainage Master Plan will help the City prioritize storm drainage infrastructure rehabilitation and improvement and will identify projects designed to prevent or reduce local flooding at “stormwater hotspots.”

What is a storm drainage hotspot?

A storm drainage hotspot is where rainwater is not draining properly. A hotspot could include:

  • A large puddle of standing water
  • A sidewalk covered in water
  • Water running down the street during a rainstorm
  • Water overflowing the banks of a ditch or creek
flooded intersection
flooded intersection

REPORT a storm drainage flooding hotspot

Complete this form to add a new hotspot to the map, and/or to add information about a known hotspot.

You may report any hotspot you know from your neighborhood, work, and/or places you pass through or spend time in Oakland.

Enter separate entries for each hotspot you are reporting.

Survey is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.


New data will be considered for the Storm Drainage Master Plan.

Information entered through this survey will help ground-truth City records and also fill in data gaps so that the City can better plan and prioritize upgrades to the City's storm drainage system.


The City will use this information to plan and prioritize storm drainage system maintenance, repairs, and upgrades. Some locations may not be able to be addressed or fully addressed until future funding is secured.

Outreach Postcards

Storm Drainage Master Plan Components

  1. Inventory and assessment of the City’s storm drainage system.
  2. Studies to evaluate if drains and pipes are large enough to handle storm drainage flows.
  3. Prioritized list of projects to reduce local flooding and to add green stormwater infrastructure designed to clean stormwater and provide urban greening benefits. The projects will be prioritized based on factors such as flooding severity and frequency and race and equity indicators.
  4. Preliminary cost estimates of storm drainage system improvements.
  5. Suggestions for funding sources to implement the planned storm drainage improvements.

The City of Oakland is committed to eliminating systemic disparities by prioritizing underserved communities that have historically lacked access to resources and opportunities. One goal of the Storm Drainage Master Plan will be to address disparities in the maintenance, rehabilitation, and/or replacement of storm drainage infrastructure in underserved communities.

See Oakland's equity map.

Stormwater vs Wastewater

Stormwater comes from rain. Insufficient or blocked-up stormwater drains can result in local flooding. Stormwater also picks up street pollution and carries it to local waterways and the San Francisco Bay.

Wastewater includes anything that drains from sinks, washers, and toilets in homes and businesses. Wastewater must be captured and treated in a wastewater treatment plant.

Stormwater and wastewater are managed in two separate systems:

  • Oakland’s stormwater flows through pipes and culverts into creeks, then out to the San Francisco Bay.
  • Oakland’s wastewater flows to a wastewater treatment plant operated by the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD). After treatment, wastewater flows out to the San Francisco Bay.

How has the City identified storm drainage hotspot areas so far?

The City is using computer models and hydrologic analyses to identify areas prone to flooding. Hydrologic analysis factors size and location of storm drains and the amount of rainfall to predict areas of higher flood risk.

The City also has digital maintenance records from 2012 onward that show where street flooding has occurred.

Together, the hydrologic analyses and maintenance records were used to create a preliminary map of stormwater hotspots.


Urgent issues such as flooding, ruptured storm drain pipes, or sewer overflow should be reported immediately dialing 311 from most phones in Oakland. You may also dial (510) 615-5566 to speak to a staff dispatcher.

For less urgent issues concerning the City's storm drainage system, you may call or contact OAK 311 or report online or via email to

Adopt a Storm Drain!

Volunteer to adopt a storm drain. With a rake and a few minutes of volunteer time, you can clear leaves and debris from around and on top of the storm drain inlet to keep it clear, keep water flowing during rain, keep plastic and other pollution out of the water, and prevent debris from clogging pipes below. When you sign up to Adopt a Drain, you become eligible to borrow City tools and supplies, and receive the City's rain alert notifications.

volunteer cleaning debris from storm drain inlet
volunteer cleaning debris from storm drain inlet