Oakville Ready for Rain

Because we care about protecting water quality, preventing flooding, and enhancing biodiversity, we are building projects that will reduce run-off and help filtrate pollutants from rainwater in Oakville!

 

All around Southern Ontario, our forests, meadows and marshes have happily soaked up rainwater for millennia.

But this has changed.

Rain which previously soaked into the soil, is now falling on urbanized areas and running over impermeable surfaces like roofs, parking lots and streets. Rain that no longer soaks into soils, flows instead into constructed ponds, creeks and streams and ultimately Lake Ontario, picking up pollutants and heating up along the way, and this means increased water pollution, stream banks eroding,

and the possibility of street, or even basement flooding.

Did you know?

  • 40% Oakville is impervious surface area, including parking lots, buildings, roadways, and driveways.
  • With our climate changing, we are expecting increased rainfall volumes and increased frequency and severity of storm events, resulting in increased rates of surface water runoff. A 12% increase in precipitation has already been documented over the last 50 years in Oakville (Town of Oakville, 2014).
  • More than 70% of pollutants that enter the Great Lakes enter through stormwater run off (US EPA).
  • Stream channel erosion and channel bank scouring resulting from increased urban storm water volumes put infrastructure and property at risk (Town of Oakville, 2011).

There are absorbing landscape solutions like raingardens that can help with the problem and your property may be an ideal candidate.

What is a raingarden?

Raingardens are landscaped garden beds that will soak up rainwater runoff from the roof of a house or other hard surface like a driveway. The rainwater is absorbed into the soil instead of flowing into a storm drain that empties into our local creeks. Raingardens are planted with wildflowers or other native plants and shrubs that provide habitat for birds and insects.  A raingarden is not a pond!

A raingarden holds water for only a short time, and drains within 24 hours.

 

Rain garden in Oakville! Collects water diverted from 2 downspouts.

 

Why plant raingardens in Oakville?

Raingardens are ‘low impact development’ stormwater management tools that reduce stormwater runoff in our neighbourhoods, keep pollution out of our creeks, lakes and groundwater, and make our community more resilient to heavy rains and climate change impacts.

Rain gardens absorb rainwater, so they can help:

  • recharge our groundwater
  • protect neighbourhoods from flooding and drainage problems
  • keep our creeks and lakes clean by reducing the amount of polluted stormwater that goes into streams from storm drains
  • provide habitat for birds, butterflies and insects
  • increase our community’s resilience to climate change impacts

Once your Rain Garden is ready it is important to understand how to take care of it so it maintains its functionality and beauty. Find more about Rain Garden maintenance and our Manual here.

For the past year, thanks to funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and in partnership with RAIN Community Solutions, four new demonstration storm-water management retrofits were installed in Oakville. Three raingardens and one french drain.

Learn more about our projects here:

Rain Garden at St Luke’s Palermo Anglican Church

Church of the Incarnation Rain Garden