City of Kitchener

Managing Stormwater for your Home

The following descriptions are some of the approved or typical stormwater best management practices that will qualify for a stormwater credit. 

Approved residential best management practices

Rain barrels

A barrel used to collect and temporarily store rainwater runoff for re-use.  Rain barrels typically range from 150-300 litres in size, and are most often located near downspouts to collect water from roof areas during rainfall events.  Rain barrels are an effective way to capture rain and feed your plants while saving on water bills. Rain barrels are cost effective and require minimal maintenance of emptying rain barrels between rainfalls. 

Photo Gallery: Stormwater Rain Barrels Examples will appear here on the public site.


Cisterns can be as simple as a larger version of a rain barrel, or large tanks, usually concrete or some type of heavy-duty plastic. These are most-often buried beneath the ground, and sometimes above ground, and store large amounts of rainwater runoff for re-use. They are ideal for farms or homes with large properties as they may hold between 350-5200 litres of water. Cisterns require minimal maintenance of emptying between rainfalls. (Description provided by REEP Green Solutions/RAIN)

Photo Gallery: Stormwater Cisterns Examples will appear here on the public site.

Infiltration gallery/basin

Infiltration galleries are also known as dry-wells or soak-away pits. Water is guided to an infiltration basin/gallery from the downspout of the roof. Here the water is allowed to naturally soak back into the groundwater. This will replenish the water that is drawn out of the ground by wells to provide drinking water to residents within Waterloo Region.  This is fairly common and helps to lessen the impact of increased impervious areas (hard surfaces that water cannot penetrate) that result from new development. Infiltration galleries are most often made with a grass, rock or sand base, and located in large open areas away from foundations. Infiltration galleries are often installed at the time of development, yet should one need to be installed, it is recommended the work be done by a third party as they are complex in nature.

Photo Gallery: Stormwater Infiltration Gallery Examples will appear here on the public site.

Rain garden

An area of garden specifically designed and constructed to receive, filter, and infiltrate (absorb) water runoff into the ground. Rain gardens differ from conventional gardens in that they primarily serve a drainage purpose. These gardens are placed in line with the drainage from the downspout of the home, and in line with the drainage of rain water from the property. They provide attractive green space designed to store rain water and help beautify the landscape. It is recommended to have a professional install a rain garden to meet requirements.

Photo Gallery: Stormwater Rain Garden Examples will appear here on the public site.

Permeable pavers

Permeable pavers are designed in a way that allows rainwater to drain between the paver stones into an under-layer of gravel. The difference between traditional paving stones and permeable pavers is a slightly larger spacing between stones and rather than a fine sand mix between the stones, a looser gravel mix is used that allows water to be absorbed rather than running off the hard surface. Once in the gravel base, rainwater then slowly absorbs into the ground and gradually makes its way down to the water table where it is known as groundwater. Permeable pavers can be used instead of traditional hard-surface systems such as paved driveways or sidewalks that force water to runoff the surface and enter city storm drains. Using permeable pavers can reduce stormwater flows and help to prevent flooding.

There are several permeable paving options available, and each requires some maintenance. Permeable pavers are best applied as part of a "treatment train" approach to managing stormwater. Permeable pavers provide an aesthetic alternative to traditional paving and are typically applied to residential properties.  It is recommended to have a professional install permeable pavers to ensure they meet requirements. 

Photo Gallery: Stormwater Permeable Pavers Examples will appear here on the public site.

Back to Top