Stormwater management – a component of local water management that addresses rain and melting snow – presents a unique challenge for many Canadian local governments. Traditional stormwater infrastructure, made up mainly of pipes and culverts, is costly to install and maintain yet, in all but a few jurisdictions, it lacks a dedicated and sustainable funding mechanism. Meanwhile, urbanization has increased the total area of hard surfaces contributing stormwater runoff, which has led to increased volumes of polluted waters reaching our rivers, creeks and lakes. Changing weather patterns have increased the frequency of extreme storm events, sometimes overwhelming the capacity of existing stormwater infrastructure and putting people and property at risk.
Local governments are struggling to address these stormwater challenges and are in need of new solutions that are more financially sustainable, less polluting, and more resilient. Though there are a number of solutions to choose from, two in particular are rising to the forefront of the local government toolkit for stormwater management: stormwater user fees and green infrastructure.
The goal of this report is to provide all Canadian local governments with an introduction to stormwater user fees and to the various other tools that they can implement to take an integrated approach to better urban stormwater management through the use of green infrastructure.