Our planning and engineering staff work with municipal partners and the development community in our watershed to promote Low Impact Development (LID) as an innovative stormwater management approach that treats, infiltrates, filters, and retains runoff at the source. The objective of LID is to reduce stormwater run-off, a major source of pollution in Lake Simcoe.
When land is developed and native vegetation and soils are replaced by impermeable surfaces, water can no longer seep as easily into the ground and increases, picking up contaminants along the way. This urban stormwater eventually drains into surrounding rivers and streams, and into Lake Simcoe, accounting for 31% of phosphorus entering the lake.
Traditional stormwater ponds were designed to manage stormwater by reducing peak flow and trapping sediment; however, they aren't designed to restore the natural hydrologic cycle by promoting groundwater recharge. As well, other shortcomings such as increasing maintenance costs and decreasing performance have become apparent over time.
Building More Sustainable Communities
LSRCA is moving in a new direction to manage stormwater. By taking advantage of natural landscape features, minimizing impervious surfaces like pavement, and treating stormwater as a resource rather than a waste product, we can build more sustainable communities.
To encourage new developments to incorporate LID features into their design, LSRCA is:
- Working with developers to incorporate LID technology into site design; we want to collaborate with developers early in the design process to ensure stormwater management is integrated into the entire design process.
- Revising our stormwater management guidelines to require LID as a first line of defense in stormwater management.
- Providing training on LID for developers and approval agencies.
- Assisting municipalities to implement LID on their properties.
The LSRCA Board of Directors also approved a new policy requiring future development in the Lake Simcoe Watershed to achieve a stringent target of zero-phosphorus discharge into our waterways and Lake Simcoe. Read more here. The new policy will go into effect on January 1, 2018.