The Umbrella Blog
There’s no question – urban trees provide value to cities. A report from TD economics quantified Toronto’s tree benefits at more than $81 million – with 66% of this value coming from trees’ role in managing stormwater.
But each tree is different in its ability to manage rainfall. Healthy, mature trees provide the most benefits – and unfortunately many trees in urban areas never make it to this stage. Though the lifespan of urban trees is quite variable (average lifespan of downtown urban…
Lindsay Telfer is the national project director for theCanadian Freshwater Alliance,and is leading outreach and engagement activities for Our Living Waters.
Protecting Canada’s fresh waters should be on the next federal government’s agenda, whichever party wins on October 19. And curbing runoff pollution needs to be on the agenda.
This is a key message in Federal leadership for our living waters, a call to action for the next government of Canada that individuals and organizations are asked…
With assistance from Credit Valley Conservation
It’s obvious: water is water -- whether it’s in a lake, in your glass, going down your toilet or raining onto your driveway.
Yet municipalities typically deal with water as three separate services: drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater. Decisions about each of these services are made separately, with little consideration for the interaction among them.
This doesn’t make sense for a lot of reasons. Older cities have wastewater and…
Green infrastructure is a tool for managing rainfall. So what if there isn’t any?
California’s drought has been in the news for months. Now Western Canada is getting hit (read more about droughts in B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan). Agriculture is suffering, wildfires blaze, and residents are restricting their water use.
It might seem counterintuitive to focus on rain when the lack of rain is the problem. But in areas threatened by drought, it is even more important to treat rain as a…
"Water quality is like weather"
Face it. Talking about the impact failing infrastructure has on water quality and waterways is a challenge.
No matter how hard you try, the message comes out like this: “There’s sewage in our waters. Except when there’s not. And sometimes it’s stormwater, which can be as bad as sewage. Except when it’s not.”
What the public hears is either, “your river is full of sewage all the time” or, “your lake is perfect all the time.”
Ideally, people would understand that water quality is like weather.…
Save money, reduce flood risk, and protect our water
RAIN Community Solutions is on a mission to create flood-resilient communities where rain is managed where it falls to reduce runoff and pollution. Learn more about it on our new website.
RAIN Community Solutions, a program of Green Communities Canada and our member organizations, helps local governments implement innovative stormwater management approaches known as green infrastructure and low impact development.
RAIN builds community support and participation for measures that help solve…
Replacing grass with plastic has a lot of down sides.
Former Toronto City Councillor Karen Stintz has a perfect, manicured green lawn. Always. It’s not because she’s using pesticides or herbicides, or spending hours tending to it – it’s made from artificial turf.
At first glance, artificial turf might not seem like such a crazy idea – it doesn’t need watering or cutting, and it looks green and healthy even in January. So should we all be rushing to tear out our grass and replace it with sheets of plastic?
If you live in the City of Toronto, you…
Starting in January, Mississauga will become the next in a growing number of Canadian cities to start charging for stormwater as a separate item on water bills. The Mississauga stormwater fee made waves in the news - the Toronto Star dubbed it a “McMansion tax,” referring to the fee’s structure, which charges more to properties with a larger footprint.
As the first city in the GTA to implement a stormwater charge based on impervious cover, Mississauga is a leader. The City is in the watershed…
Plastic grid systems can be used for everything from soccer fields to parking lots to increase permeability and stability.
Cities across Canada are exploring the use of permeable pavement as a strategy for stormwater management. Options include permeable asphalt, concrete and pavers. However, grid systems seem to have the most diverse application and to be the most cost-effective.
Plastic grid systems work by providing a strong framework a few inches thick that prevents compaction. When placed above a gravel underlay and filled with stones, grass, or artificial turf, the plastic grid creates a permeable surface…
One of the sources of phosphorus in urban runoff is fertilizer that washes off lawns and gardens.
Spring is an exciting time for gardeners. In anticipation of beautiful bright green lawns and blooming flower beds, some have been out there already, hoping to improve their soil conditions by applying fertilizers.
These fertilizers contribute to the growing problem of phosphorus pollution. Fertilizers are washed off of lawns and gardens during rain events, and end up flowing into local waterbodies. One study out of Wisconsin found that lawns produced runoff in over 50% of rain events, and…
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