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

Where funding will go

Working with local conservation organizations, funding will help advance work for:

Stormwater management as part of the Water Infrastructure Program

  • good stormwater management lets us safely control the impact of water runoff to protect homes and businesses by diverting it to our drainage systems, and ultimately our natural areas such as creeks, lakes and wetlands

Watercourse restoration and erosion control

  • erosion to water channels is a natural process that requires maintenance and restoration to minimize the risks to public safety, private property, infrastructure and the environment
  • increased erosion can lead to sediment going into watersheds downstream, impacting habitat and the health of aquatic communities

Stormwater management facilities

  • these facilities, such as stormwater management ponds, collect runoff including sediment, debris and pollutants after a rainfall and snow melt
  • proper maintenance helps to reduce localized flooding, control downstream erosion, and ensures cleaner water flows into our environment

Why DMAF is important

The City of Kitchener’s Corporate Climate Action Plan is a commitment to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

75% of urban areas in the city 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.

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.