RainScaping for New Development
As urban areas in the Lake Simcoe watershed continue to grow, we must explore alternative strategies to stormwater management.
LSRCA 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 20% 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
Through our market transformation program, RainScaping, LSRCA is moving in a new direction to manage stormwater. This program is designed to build more sustainable communities by incorporating low impact development practices into new development projects by taking advantage of natural landscape features, minimizing impervious surfaces like pavement, and treating stormwater as a resource rather than a waste product.
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.