Sustainable Stormwater Planning
The Low Impact Development Discussion Paper (November 2012 - pdf) is intended to raise awareness and stimulate a dialogue on the challenges associated with current stormwater management (SWM) practices in Ontario, identify the benefits of Low Impact Development (LID) and act as a roadmap for broad scale implementation of LID across Ontario. Conservation Ontario is working with the Credit Valley, Toronto and Region, and Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authorities to champion this identified priority of the Ministry of the Environment and Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy (Dec 2012) and the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition
Urbanization is changing the flow of water resulting from rainstorms and snow melts preventing water from seeping into the ground and back into the water cycle. Instead, water rushes along paved surfaces as runoff to the nearest low point into creeks, streams, rivers, and ultimately lakes.
Repairing flood damages and addressing pollution caused by stormwater and snowmelt runoff can be costly, or in some cases, impossible to fix.
Conservation Authorities may provide advice to municipalities with regard to stormwater management. Low Impact Development (LID) is an approach that protects the natural water balance and water quality of watersheds using a wide range of best management practices that allow water to seep into the ground or evaporate, as well as be collected. It reduces water runoff and keeps water on the land.
Low Impact Development is better site design, sustainable urban drainage systems, water sensitive urban design, stormwater source controls, stormwater management, or green infrastructure practices.
LID practices manage rainfall at the source – where it lands through site planning and physical installations that, together, mimic the natural water cycle. It is well suited for new subdivisions and can be added to older developed areas where stormwater treatment doesn’t exist.
Credit Valley Conservation’s Low Impact Development Toolkit includes a diagram of the typical Environmental Planning Process to help developers, consultants, landowners or municipalities maximize their use of the website for implementation of sustainable stormwater planning and practices. The Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program (STEP) has extensive material on stormwater management and low impact development. STEP is a multi-agency initiative, led by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) which has benefited from funding support from all levels of government. The program was developed to provide the data and analytical tools needed to support broader implementation of sustainable technologies and practices within a Canadian context.