Local governments across Canada are starting to look at rainwater through a new lens – as a resource that can be managed and harvested on site as opposed to a waste product that must be removed.

It is becoming clear that combining green infrastructure with existing grey infrastructure systems is a cost-effective option that provides a range of environmental and social benefits. It is also clear that stormwater management is a critical municipal service that requires a new funding approach that is dedicated, transparent and fair. Traditional grey infrastructure is costly and the lack of a dedicated, consistent funding source means few municipalities are able to proactively plan, build or maintain their stormwater system.

Smart Prosperity Institute (SPI) launched the New Solutions for Sustainable Stormwater Management project in November 2015 with the aim of enhancing the resilience of Canadian urban centres by moderating the impacts of extreme rainfalls through increased use of green infrastructure, and encouraging more Canadian municipalities to support this through “user pay” models and other incentives.


Report: New Solutions For Sustainable Stormwater Management in Canada

The first phase of our project was completed in September 2016 with the release of our publication New Solutions for Sustainable Stormwater Management in Canada. This report provided a valuable resource for local governments across Canada, with case studies on the experiences of communities who are implementing stormwater user fees and green infrastructure.


Community Workshops across Canada

The second phase of our project was conducted during November-December of 2016 and consisted of community workshops held in five municipalities across Canada. These workshops, given in partnership with Green Communities Canada, provided municipal staff, private sector representatives, and not-for-profit watershed groups an introduction to stormwater user fees, and other tools and incentives available for encouraging green infrastructure projects.


Municipal Roundtables

The third phase of our project will engage municipalities in municipal roundtables in order to help municipal staff work together to clearly identify, assess, and problem-solve on key barriers to successfully implement new solutions for sustainable stormwater management. The customized sessions, organized and facilitated by Smart Prosperity Institute (SPI) and The Natural Step (TNS), will engage communities on their unique barriers to managing stormwater through user fees and green infrastructure, with the goal of developing local strategies and action plans for overcoming those barriers.


Additional Resources:

  • See which Canadian municipalities currently feature a stormwater user fee
  • Soak it Up! Toolkit: identifies policies and programs for integrating green stormwater infrastructure across the urban landscape.
  • Blog Post: Incenting Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management