The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE), the Residential & Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO), and the Ontario Sewer & Watermain Construction Association (OSWCA) have released a joint report entitled Weathering the Storms: Municipalities Plead for Stormwater Infrastructure Funding. The organizations partnered to better assess the province’s ability to manage the impending impacts of climate change and severe weather.
“Stormwater infrastructure is extremely complicated and is significantly different from water and wastewater,” said Mark Hartley, P.Eng., water resources engineer and member of OSPE’s stormwater project team. “Municipalities need to prepare stand-alone Stormwater Infrastructure Asset Management Plans that include details of both engineered and natural structures, including their replacement as well as operational and maintenance costs.
More than half of the municipalities that responded to the survey (58 per cent) reported limited to no engineered stormwater management infrastructure. This is of particular concern when considering the potential dangers that climate change and severe weather patterns pose to our communities.”
It is estimated that $1.2 billion would be needed to replace stormwater infrastructure in six focus municipalities alone, with populations ranging from under 50,000 to more than 500,000. As this funding gap increases across Ontario, so will the economic and environmental impacts caused by deficient stormwater management systems.
OSPE, RCCAO and, OSWCA believe that this matter must be addressed on an urgent basis to protect property and public health and safety.
Note: A previous version of this article indicated that the organizations involved were motivated to advocate for stormwater infrastructure due to changing weather patterns. This is not the case. See Robert Muir’s comments below.