New Solutions for Sustainable Stormwater Management in Canada

Stormwater management – a component of local water management that addresses rain and melting snow – presents a unique challenge for many Canadian local governments. Traditional stormwater infrastructure, made up mainly of pipes and culverts, is costly to install and maintain yet, in all but a few jurisdictions, it lacks a dedicated and sustainable funding mechanism. Meanwhile, urbanization has increased the total area of hard surfaces contributing stormwater runoff, which has led to increased volumes of polluted waters reaching our rivers, creeks and lakes. Changing weather patterns have increased the frequency of extreme storm events, sometimes overwhelming the capacity of existing stormwater infrastructure and putting people and property at risk.

Local governments are struggling to address these stormwater challenges and are in need of new solutions that are more financially sustainable, less polluting, and more resilient. Though there are a number of solutions to choose from, two in particular are rising to the forefront of the local government toolkit for stormwater management: stormwater user fees and green infrastructure.

The goal of this report is to provide all Canadian local governments with an introduction to stormwater user fees and to the various other tools that they can implement to take an integrated approach to better urban stormwater management through the use of green infrastructure.

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About the Project

The goal of this project is to shed light on the relationship between economic activity and the environment by exploring the linkages between changes in our natural capital and our measures of productivity generally, and through the construction of an environmentally adjusted measure of productivity specifically.

While it is now commonly accepted that economic activity and the state of our environment are linked, many economic measures still fail to incorporate the environment – both the things we draw from it and the pollution we release into it. By developing and calculating measures of productivity that include natural capital, Canada may be able to better understand these linkages. This, in turn, may lead to the identification of strategies that can help Canada become more efficient and innovative in the use and protection of natural capital, and thus more productive and more prosperous.

Using the forestry sector as a case study, this project aims to construct an environmentally adjusted measure of multifactor productivity. In doing so, we aim to add another layer of understanding to the environmental and economic performance of this sector. The proposed measure will have relevance to the Canadian economy as a whole.