Despite the availability of several sophisticated nonlinear optimization packages many practical problems still exist that do not yield themselves to the application of such algorithms. For problems of this type the use of simple heuristics may be highly desirable and in some instances even advantageous. In this paper a simple direct search heuristic is presented for use in applied problems in water resources. In order to illustrate the developed algorithm it was applied to a stormwater management design problem. The general heuristic has been found to be very robust and can readily handle problems involving implicit constraints and nonconvex solution domains.