Much like forests, streams and wildlife, stormwater is a natural part of our environment. Proper stormwater management is necessary to control erosion, flooding and water quality, and to protect our watercourses.

On this page:

1. What is stormwater?

2. Stormwater management funding

3. Investing in stormwater

4. Rates and credits

5. Market Incentive Program

6. Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF)

What is stormwater?

Stormwater run-off is water that flows across the land and over hard surfaces before it’s routed into drainage systems. It then goes to our natural areas such as creeks, lakes and wetlands.

We are responsible for managing all aspects of stormwater. Stormwater infrastructure includes:

  • roadways and ditches
  • storm sewers, storm sewer manholes and catch basins
  • stormwater management ponds
  • other various facilities

We are held accountable to regulatory agencies such as the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Natural Resources, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Grand River Conservation Authority, etc.

We do not maintain facilities that are located on private property or that fall under other governmental jurisdictions.

Stormwater management funding

The City of Kitchener transferred stormwater management funding from property taxes to a user-fee program in 2011. A stormwater user-fee represents a more dedicated, transparent and sustainable funding option than charging more for property taxes. Rates are assessed based on how much stormwater run-off the property contributes, rather than on property value.

By transferring stormwater management to a user-fee model, the funds collected are guaranteed to be used for stormwater management.

Investing in stormwater

By investing your rates into stormwater infrastructure, we are able to:

  • replace ageing stormwater infrastructure
  • keep pollutants out of stormwater systems
  • prevent flooding and pollution from reaching our creeks and streams
  • reach targets of Ontario’s Water Opportunities Act

Find more information on stormwater management projects in Kitchener.

Rates and credits

Learn more about our stormwater rates and our stormwater credits.

Market Incentive Program

The City of Kitchener is developing a Market Incentive Program to support private property owners in incorporating low-impact development stormwater features onto their property to improve resiliency to flooding. Find out more about the Market Incentive Program.

Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund

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

Stormwater management allows the City to 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.

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