People have been managing storm water in European towns and cities since the middle of the 19th century. More recently, an innovative strategy developed by the DAYWATER team has combined scientific and technical expertise with management skills and a knowledge of how societies function. The project offered solutions to four common challenges facing those responsible for managing storm water in urban environments. These challenges included funding, involving the local populace, achieving political attention and cooperating with end-users and other stakeholders. A process suited to the urban environment was developed within a water management framework. This enabled urban storm water management (USWM) to be linked to economic activities. The challenge for those implementing the strategy was to work successfully with large numbers of stakeholders and include their perceptions. It was also important to demonstrate the advantages of using USWM to the public. Storm water managers switched from a single-aim approach to a multi-aim approach. The focus was changed from methodology to ways in which urban storm water management could assist in an area's sustainable development. This new interactive approach successfully linked USWM with spatial planning and the needs of the people inhabiting those areas where the project took place.