Waterloo, Ontario’s council endorsed a stormwater management master plan environmental assessment on December 16, 2019.

Council also directed staff to file the notice of completion and mandatory 30-day public review period, as required by the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act.

Waterloo’s stormwater master plan has a 15-year outlook for the safe and effective management of stormwater runoff from its existing urban areas. The strategy will identify, protect, and enhance natural features, ecological function, and biophysical integrity. It will also manage risks, such as water pollution and flooding, through the establishment of environmental targets for water quality, water quantity, erosion, and infiltration (water balance).

The study was initiated with the basic recognition that urban development can cause a number of environmental concerns, including:

  • Degraded surface water and groundwater quality.
  • Warming of local creeks, which can affect fish.
  • Increased sediment being delivered to local creeks.
  • Negative effects on human and animal health.
  • Loss of fish and wildlife habitat, along with natural features.
  • Increased flooding and creek erosion.
  • Reduced groundwater recharge (Waterloo’s drinking water source).
  • Overwhelming of the municipal storm sewer system, resulting in flooding.

The plan will guide the establishment of stormwater management policies and guidelines, address stormwater needs, identify and prioritize recommended works, and feed into the overall asset management plan for the City of Waterloo.

The plan contains six key elements:

  • Municipal pollution prevention and practices that can help prevent impacts before they occur.
  • Strategies that focus on supporting and encouraging private property to beautify their neighbourhoods and business while managing stormwater.
  • Improving the way municipal roads manage runoff by constructing stormwater management controls.
  • Maintaining and improving stormwater management facilities as well as constructing new facilities in uncontrolled stormwater catchments as part of park rehabilitations.
  • Restoring local creeks suffering from erosion issues.
  • Managing urban flooding associated with storm sewer surcharging with a focus on the predicted impacts of climate change.
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More information about the stormwater master plan is available here on the City of Waterloo’s website.

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