This site uses JavaScript. Please enable JavaScript in your Browser and reload the page to view the full site.

Rainwater and your property

Pinecrest Neighbourhood Rain Project

Graphics of the words Rain, Slow it Down, Soak it Up and Keep it Clean

Learn how to:​​

  • Manage rainwater runoff
  • Add beauty and value to your property with low maintenance landscaping
  • Protect your home from flooding
  • Keep our creeks and rivers healthy
  • Connect the Drops – How do activities in your home and neighbourhood affect Pinecrest Creek and the Ottawa River?

The project is part of the larger Pinecrest Creek/ Westboro Stormwater Management Retrofit plan to reduce the harmful impacts of stormwater. 

A graphic of a house with a downspout, rain barrel and rain garden.

Activities included in the pilot project:

  • Information sessions at community meetings and events
  • Do It Yourself workshops on rainwater harvesting and infiltration landscaping
  • ​Interpretive signs along the Pinecrest Creek and Ottawa River pathways, a joint initiative with the National Capital Commission (NCC)
  • Rainscaping demonstration projects such as rain gardens and de-paving
  • The pilot project will help the City learn how it can best support homeowners across Ottawa to better manage rainwater on their property.

How is stormwater managed near Pinecrest Creek and Westboro Beach?

Like many of the City’s older urban areas, neighbourhoods near the Pinecrest Creek and Westboro Beach were developed with little or no stormwater management. The Pinecrest Creek/ Westboro Stormwater Management Retrofit Plan includes a long-term action plan to:

  • Improve water quality in Pinecrest Creek and the Ottawa River
  • Reduce erosion and flood risk
  • Improve the aquatic habitat in the Creek
  • Reduce closures at Westboro Beach

Connect the Drops and watch the rainwater story

story map icon

You can make a difference

We all play a part in reducing the harmful effects of stormwater on our streams and rivers. Simple actions like re-directing your downspout on to grass or gardens, capturing rainwater in a rain barrel for later use or landscaping to encourage rain to filter into the ground can make a real difference, especially when many people do them.

Pinecrest Creek/ Westboro Stormwater Management Retrofit Plan

A comprehensive study was completed in 2011 to identify solutions to minimize the negative impacts of uncontrolled stormwater runoff.  This is challenging in older urban areas where there is little space to install conventional stormwater practices like ponds.

This map shows the locations of three interpretive signs along the Pinecrest Creek, at Iris and Transitway, at the pedestrian bridge along the pathway and at the Ottawa River.

The Plan includes a combination of solutions to be implemented over 50 years:

  • Rain gardens and permeable parking lots on City properties to encourage infiltration where rain falls
  • Green streets to be installed as roads are reconstructed
  • A stormwater management pond to treat runoff from 435 hectares south-east of Baseline Road and Woodroffe Avenue
  • Encouraging private property owners to install rain gardens and rain barrels on their properties to manage rain where it falls

For more information read the 2011 Pinecrest Creek/ Westboro Stormwater Management Retrofit Study.

Interested in other projects that affect the Pinecrest Creek and Ottawa River?

Additional Resources

Slow it Down - rain barrel installation and maintenance

Soak it Up - Rain gardens, Soak-away pits and Infiltration

Keep it Clean

Protect your Home from Basement Flooding


Julia Robinson
Project Manager
Environmental Programs
613-580-2424, ext. 21609


Rain barrel tips

Rain barrels are a great way to collect water to use on your lawn and garden. You will save on your water bill and keep water in the ground instead of the storm sewers.

  • Selecting a rain barrel – rain barrels are available locally at garden supply and hardware stores.  Often, rain barrels can also be purchased through local fundraising events.  Features to look for when purchasing a rain barrel:
    • Child-safe, non-removable lid;
    • Built-in, secure mosquito and debris screening; and
    • Overflow and linking options (to other barrels).
  • Location, location, location -place your rain barrel near where the water will be used; whether it’s for washing the car and gardening tools, or watering the flower beds and the lawn.  Rain barrels should be placed on a solid, strong, level surface.  A full 200L rain barrel can weigh 200kg or over 400 pounds (weight of the water) plus the weight of the barrel.
  • Don’t drink the water – Rain barrel water is not safe for drinking, cooking with or bathing in. It is usually collected from a roof and can carry bacteria, parasites, and viruses from birds and animal wastes and chemical contaminants from roofing materials.  The warm dark environment inside a rain barrel can permit bacterial growth.
  • Water at the Roots - if you’re watering fruits and vegetables follow these tips for a healthy garden:
    • Keep rain barrel water off the leaves of edible plants and direct water into the soil around the plants instead. Drip hoses have the added benefit of slowly releasing water over time, keeping your plants well watered and making sure your barrel is ready to capture the next rain.
    • Wash all vegetables with clean tap water before eating.
    • Consider installing a water diverter to re-direct the first flush of roof runoff away from your barrel. This first flush of rainwater has more roof debris and contaminants that are undesirable in the barrel.​
  • Collect the max - drain your rain barrel after each rain event to ensure your rain barrel can capture the greatest possible volume; this may also help to prevent mosquito population growth.  To protect property, always direct the overflows away from foundation walls and neighbouring properties.
  • Protect your investment rain barrels and their connections require some maintenance:  
    • regularly clean and maintain your eavestroughs and downspouts,
    • consider adding screening and gutter guards to help keep leaves and other materials out,
    • ensure connections are tight,
    • clean and maintain your rain barrel annually
  • Winterize your rain barrel - Before the first frost, follow these simple steps to ensure that your rain barrel continues to last for years.
    • Empty the rain barrel and drain hoses completely.
    • Disconnect any hoses and leave the spigot open to prevent accumulation of water.
    • Disconnect the rain barrel from the downspout. 
    • Reattach the cut portion of the downspout, or attach a temporary flexible downspout. To prevent damage, direct the downspout away from basement walls, window wells and neighbouring properties.
    • Alternately consider installing a rain diverter for easy seasonal removal and re-installation.
    • Store the rain barrel and its attachments in the garage or other protected area. If you must leave your rain barrel outside, place it in a sheltered area of the yard, turn it upside down and cover. This will help to protect the barrel from the elements and water accumulation. 
    • Clean the rain barrel and screens and check for any damage.
    • Learn more about rainwater collection and health.

See more tips on how to manage rainwater and Soak it Up, Slow It Down and Keep it Clean!