Private Landowners Partner for Stormwater Solutions

Parking lot

When rain falls it needs somewhere to go. On hard surfaces such as roads, parking lots and roofs, it’s not able to soak into the ground. Instead, rainwater becomes stormwater runoff. It is collected by curbs and gutters and flows into pipes and swales before draining into a local creek or river. As rainwater travels across hard surfaces it picks up contaminants such as oil, grease and sediment and becomes polluted.

Intense rainfall can overwhelm stormwater infrastructure, increasing the risk of flooding and property damage. There are many technologies available to lessen these impacts by managing rain where it falls.

Low impact development technologies (LID) help slow down stormwater flows, decrease runoff volumes and filter and clean water before it enters our local rivers and streams. LID technologies complement existing stormwater infrastructure. They extend its useful life, decrease flood risk and build community resilience to climate change.

1. Bioretention: Soil and plants filter and cool rainwater.
2. Permeable pavements: Spaces between bricks allow rainwater to sink into the ground.
3. Underground storage tanks: Capture rainwater to offset potable water uses such as irrigation or toilet flushing.
4. Rainwater harvesting tanks: Capture rainwater to offset potable water uses such as irrigation or toilet flushing.

A Made In Ontario Solution to Stormwater Management

Credit Valley Conservation is testing a new approach to stormwater management: communal LID stormwater infrastructure. This approach brings together neighbouring properties to share the costs to design, build and maintain one system.

This approach addresses a key barrier preventing wide-scale implementation of LID on private property, the high cost. Together, property owners pool their resources and benefit from economies of scale.

Communal stormwater solution example: Three property owners divert their roof drainage into one underground storage chamber. The stormwater slowly seeps back into the ground. Water that can’t be absorbed into the ground flows into the municipal stormwater system and eventually makes its way to a waterway.

Partnering with the City of Mississauga, we’re piloting this approach with thirteen industrial-commercial properties and small businesses in southwest Mississauga. We’re in the process of assessing practical and financial feasibility to show how this approach can be adopted more broadly.

Proving feasibility is important. Municipalities have been reluctant to rely on infrastructure on private property because there are no guarantees that it will be inspected and maintained or that they will be able to access the property.

As part of the project, we’re exploring how the Drainage Act – a 183 year-old piece of legislation unique to Ontario – can help. It’s used extensively in rural areas to help landowners communally address drainage issues. The Drainage Act provides a process for the maintenance of communal stormwater works and ensures property access and operations can be facilitated – a great solution to a major barrier!

A number of municipalities, provincial agencies and industry professionals recently attended a webinar on “Using the Drainage Act to Implement Green Infrastructure on Private Property” and a recording of it can be found here.

CVC is a member of STEP, a conservation-authority led initiative that encourages the use of technologies that protect water resources and reduce our carbon footprint. Learn more about LID projects in our local communities at

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