Aggregated, Communal Approaches to Green Infrastructure Implementation

STEP Water partners have developed and monitored many successful projects that demonstrate the benefits of green infrastructure (GI) and low impact development (LID) for stormwater management.  Despite the proven success and benefits of GI, there are still barriers preventing wide-scale implementation, particularly on private property in existing developments.  This is largely due to the associated capital costs.  This project has been initiated to find ways to overcome this hurdle through aggregation, where private and public properties are grouped together to facilitate communal and cost-efficient management of stormwater.  As part of this project, the potential of the provincial Drainage Act (R.S.O., 1990) to assist in the aggregation process is being considered, since applying the mechanisms available in the Act could result in advantages like cost savings, and size and performance optimization.

In July 2017, STEP Water hosted a workshop for nearly 100 stormwater management professionals in order to critically evaluate the instruments and processes within the Drainage Act.  They examined the potential application of the Act to facilitate implementation of decentralized stormwater management systems in urban retrofit environments. A white paper has been written which summarizes findings on this topic; it has been condensed to a three-page position paper to concisely describe our views. Our position on this issue is guiding our current work as we continue assess the feasibility of using the Drainage Act for urban stormwater management. A study has been initiated in Mississauga to further this work and develop a process for communal stormwater management in urban environments using the principles in the Drainage Act.  This undertaking will provide an aggregation framework, help to identify appropriate economic offsets and incentives, and address important legal questions surrounding the application of the Drainage Act as a remedy to current urban stormwater challenges. For more information on these initiatives contact Bill Trenouth at