What’s the problem with rain?
Much of Ottawa’s older urban areas were developed with little or no consideration given to stormwater management. The buildings, streets and parking lots in urban areas don’t absorb rain like natural areas. When rain falls on these surfaces, it moves quickly into storm sewers that drain directly into our streams and rivers, picking up pollutants along the way. This can cause problems like:
- Poor water quality in creeks and rivers
- Increased risks of flooding and erosion
- Habitat degradation
- Beach closures
We all play a part in reducing the harmful effects of stormwater on our streams and rivers. The first step is connecting the drops.
Connect the Drops
Click the image below and start scrolling to connect the drops and learn the rainwater story in the neighbourhoods near Pinecrest Creek and Westboro Beach in Ottawa.
You can make a difference
Simple actions like re-directing your downspout on to grass, capturing rainwater in a rain barrel, or landscaping to encourage rain to filter into the ground can make a real difference, especially when all of Ottawa steps up. Here are three steps to get you started:
- Redirect to correct – ensure your downspout is flowing on to grass or garden more than 2 m from your house. If it isn’t, redirect it. Check out this video for redirection instructions.
- Do a storm survey - grab an umbrella and head outside during a heavy rain. How does water flow off your roof, and where does it go? Knowing these simple things can help you keep your basement dry.
- Take a walk - visit the Pinecrest Creek Pathway and check out the interpretive signs on the impacts of stormwater or visit a rain garden in action outside of the Cornerstone Residence on Princeton Avenue.
The RAIN program encourages residents to Slow it Down, Soak it Up and Keep it Clean!
If you want more ideas, tips and tricks to make your home rain ready, get in touch with RAIN Coordinator, Simon Greenland-Smith.
Slow it Down - rain barrel installation and maintenance
- Tips to Slow it Down (RAIN Community Solutions Program)
- Rain barrel installation (video)
- Rain barrel installation (video with sub-titles)
- Winterizing your rain barrel
- Rain barrel maintenance
- More tips on using rain barrels
Soak it Up - Rain gardens, Soak-away pits and Infiltration
- How to Build a Rain Garden
- Tips to Soak It Up (RAIN Community Solutions Program)
- Rain gardens
- How to drain downspout water away from your house
- How to make a soakaway pit
- Permeable pavement demonstration
Keep it Clean
- Tips to Keep it Clean (RAIN Community Solutions Program)
- Where to take Household Hazardous Waste in Ottawa
Protect your Home from Basement Flooding
What is the City of Ottawa doing to manage stormwater?
The City of Ottawa has a complex stormwater management system designed to collect, transport, and treat stormwater.
The Ottawa River Action Plan identified stormwater runoff as a key issue affecting the health of the Ottawa River. The City has completed in-depth studies to identify ways to reduce the harmful impacts of stormwater in two priority areas in Ottawa: Pinecrest Creek / Westboro and the Eastern Subwatersheds.
The studies recommended several actions that the City can do over the next 50 years including:
- Rain gardens and permeable parking lots on City properties to encourage on-site infiltration
- Streetside rain gardens to be installed as roads are reconstructed
- A stormwater management pond at Baseline Road and Woodroffe Avenue to treat runoff in the Pinecrest Creek Subwatershed
- Encouraging private property owners to install rain gardens and rain barrels on their properties to manage rain where it falls
- Rehabilitating local streams to reduce erosion
Outreach and Communications Coordinator
613-580-2424, ext. 35625