Stormwater Funding Study

In August 2013, the City of Guelph started the Stormwater Funding Study to explore alternative ways to pay for its stormwater management program. The City obtained the services of AECOM, an engineering consulting firm, to assist in the completion of this stormwater funding study.

Stormwater management is a critical service

Managing stormwater protects our community—our people, our homes and businesses, and our environment. It increases community safety and quality of life by preventing flooding and reducing pollution in Guelph’s rivers.

Stormwater is all the rain, melted snow, and property runoff that flows into storm drains and straight to Guelph’s rivers. Stormwater infrastructure includes all the drains, pipes and ponds that collect and move storm water to our local rivers. Guelph’s stormwater system consists of 477 km of sewer pipes, 11,900 drain or catch basins, 120 management facilities such as stormwater ponds, and 143 oil-grit separators. That’s a lot of infrastructure to maintain and repair to ensure our community’s safety.

Why do we need a stormwater funding study?

Municipalities are facing stormwater management challenges including climate-driven changes, aging infrastructure and increasing hard surfaces. Our stormwater infrastructure needs upgrades and repairs. Guelph’s stormwater management system received a failing grade (F) in the 2012 Sustainable Infrastructure Report and Infrastructure Scorecard. The report showed that stormwater infrastructure is currently funded at less than half of the estimated amount needed to sustain the system, with a $4.1M funding gap. The 2015 update to that report shows that Guelph’s stormwater system continues to be underfunded.

The 2012 Stormwater Master Plan recommends over $62 million in required upgrades and repairs. The longer infrastructure is left without upgrade or repair, the more expensive it becomes to fix.

The City needs a reliable and sustainable way to fund this critical service. Through the stormwater funding study, staff:

  • Evaluated existing stormwater program costs and determined future costs required to provide an appropriate level of service to meet the City’s objectives for flood, and environmental protection and regulatory requirements, and to satisfy public service expectations.
  • Identified a storm water user fee as the best option for a dedicated and sustainable funding mechanism to allocate stormwater costs fairly and equitably for all properties.
  • Developed a strategy to implement the stormwater user fee which was approved by Council on March 21, 2016.

Public participation

As part of this study, the City engaged residents, business and institution owners, environmental organizations and other stakeholders. The goal of the community engagement process was to provide an inclusive, honest and meaningful opportunity for dialogue between City staff and community stakeholders throughout the stormwater funding study.

For more information

Arun Hindupur, M.Sc., P. Eng.
Infrastructure Planning Engineer
Engineering Services
519-822-1260 extension 2282