Stormwater naturally flows off hard surfaces and flows into our waterways or is absorbed into the soil. As we grow and develop our city we must ensure there are enough spaces for this to happen. Poor stormwater management leads to erosion, poor water quality, pollution and property damage caused by flooding.

On this page:

  1. How we manage stormwater
  2. Manage your home’s stormwater
  3. Stormwater ponds aren’t for skating
  4. Spring melt
  5. Stormwater report card
  6. Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF)

How we manage stormwater

Stormwater is managed in three ways:

  • property-specific things like rain barrels, downspouts and cisterns
  • conveying stormwater with storm drains and sewers
  • end-of-pipe collection systems like stormwater management ponds

By collecting water and soaking up rain we can ensure less water flows over paved areas. This reduces the amount of oil and dirt that ends up in our lakes and ponds.

We can use the water we capture for our own purposes or to simply let the ground soak it up naturally.


Manage your home’s stormwater

You can help manage the amount of runoff coming from your home by:

  • using a rain barrel to collect water for your garden
  • disposing of hazardous products like motor oil, antifreeze, etc., by dropping them off at our local waste management facility
  • washing your car at a car wash, instead of your driveway
  • sweeping dirt from your sidewalks and driveways and putting the debris in the garbage, instead of on the road
  • picking up pet waste regularly
  • reducing the use of salt for ice melting during the winter
  • ensuring your downspouts drain onto your lawn or garden areas, not directly onto driveways, sidewalks or streets

Stormwater ponds aren’t for skating

In the winter, stormwater ponds may seem like a great place to skate or play hockey but they are extremely unsafe.

Water is constantly flowing into and draining out of these ponds, and they often pick up some of the deicing chemicals used on roads. This means that ice could be safe one moment and completely unsafe another.

For that reason, no swimming, skating or recreational use of any kind is allowed on our stormwater management ponds. Signs at each pond clearly indicate this. Watch this short video to learn more about stormwater ponds

If you’re looking for somewhere to skate, find the closest outdoor skating rink.


Spring melt

A quick increase in temperature during the spring can cause ice to melt rapidly, causing localized flooding.

Watch this short video to learn about how you can prepare for the next spring melt.

You can reduce this risk around your home by:

  • clearing snow buildup around your home’s foundation and window wells
  • ensuring snow, ice and debris is clear from your roof and eavestroughs
  • removing snow and ice at the end of downspouts
  • ensuring downspouts drain at least one metre away from your foundation and onto your lawn or garden areas, rather than directly onto sidewalks or streets
  • shovelling snow and ice onto your yard, not onto the road, to avoid blocking drains
  • watching for standing water around your home’s foundation
  • if you have a sump pump, cycle it at least once a month and clean the sump basin annually

If you notice blocked catch basins on your street, call us at 519-741-2345.


Stormwater report card

Every five years we assess our stormwater management system and create a report card summarizing our findings.

The most recent report card was developed in 2018, using data from 2011-2015. Read the current report card or the underlying technical report.

Earlier report cards


Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF)

From 2018 to 2028, the City of Kitchener is receiving $49.99 million in funding from the federal government for the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF).

This partnership will help enhance the City of Kitchener’s ability to invest in important stormwater management initiatives that will:

  • help to mitigate the severity of local flooding
  • help to protect the environment, homes and businesses
  • help to maintain drinking water quality

Why DMAF is important

Our Corporate Climate Action Plan is a commitment to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

75% of urban areas in Kitchener lack adequate stormwater management that helps to protect against flooding. Recent flooding events at the Walter Bean Trail and Kiwanis Park highlight the need for action. Now more than ever, our community needs to adapt to frequent and intensifying weather events caused by climate change.

This funding will implement important stormwater management initiatives that will help to mitigate the severity of local flooding that impacts drinking water quality, the environment, personal and business income and municipal infrastructure and services.

Where funding will go

DMAF funding will help advance work on the projects in the accordions below.

Water Improvement Program

These projects make up the largest component of the overall DMAF project, including about 50% of the total projects.

Goal: incorporate low impact development (LID)/green infrastructure techniques at the same time as primary road reconstruction and replacement of outdated stormwater infrastructure.

Implementation: 2020 to 2027

Creek Erosion

These projects have been selected after assessing more than 80 km of watercourses and considering factors like:

  • the risks to the environment
  • public health and safety
  • the likelihood for further erosion to degrade critical infrastructure

Goal: address the highest priority creek erosion sites identified through the Integrated Stormwater Management Master Plan.

Implementation: 2020 to 2027

New Stormwater Management Facility Network Expansion

These projects will develop new stormwater management facilities in identified areas of the city.

Goal: address the needs of existing built-up municipal areas that currently do not have any stormwater controls.

Implementation: 2023 to 2027

Bridgeport Dyke

In partnership with the Grand River Conservation Authority, this work will upgrade and repair the existing Bridgeport Dyke which is approximately 40 years old.

Goal: significantly upgrade and repair the existing dyke to address the impacts of major flood events along the Grand River and to bring the infrastructure up to current safety and operational standards.

Implementation: 2022 to 2024

Walter Bean Trail

This project element will help repair and connect aspects of the Walter Bean Trail that are currently not passable following flood and ice impacts.

Goal: address issues associated with regular flooding and damages which damage a popular section of the trail along the Grand River.

Implementation: 2022 to 2024

Stream Naturalization

This project element will proceed through a full Environmental Assessment and include natural channel design, a method of restoring a stream by engineering changes to mimic natural conditions.

Goal: removal of existing infrastructure from the floodway in areas with concrete lined channels, followed by natural channel design to restore the system to a functional floodplain.

Implementation: 2023 to 2027

Return on investment

For every dollar spent by Kitchener ratepayers through the stormwater rate on their water bill, our community is projected to receive a return of $18 in prevented damage costs.

Investing in Canada graphic

This page will be updated throughout the DMAF project. Subscribe to this page to get an email when we share updates.