Stormwater - Financing Our Future Needs 

What is stormwater?

Stormwater is the water that flows into our sewers, creeks and lakes after it rains or from melting snow. In natural areas, stormwater can soak into the ground where it lands or be absorbed by vegetation.

In urban areas, stormwater runs off hard surfaces (such as rooftops, parking areas, backyard patios and roads), carrying pollution (such as debris and chemicals) into streams and rivers. Stormwater runoff from urban areas is greater in amount because houses, roads, parking lots and other constructed things do not allow water to get into the ground. Therefore, the water flows over the land and much more rapidly. This increases the ability for the water to cause flooding and erosion.

Stormwater carries pollutants with it because stormwater is not treated. This can result in negative effects on water quality and the natural environment.

Stormwater must be managed to reduce the risk of flooding and erosion and to minimize harm to the environment.

What is the City’s role in managing stormwater?

The City is responsible for managing stormwater within the municipality. Stormwater management is key in protecting public safety and health and works to reduce flood risk, control erosion and maintain water quality.

Managing stormwater includes planning, designing, constructing, operating and maintaining stormwater management structures. These structures consist of storm sewers, ditches, inlets, stormwater management facilities (ponds), bridges, culverts, infiltration facilities, oil grit separators, engineered and natural channels, and storm sewer outfalls to streams and watercourses.

Did you know the City manages:

  • More than 1025 kilometres of pipes
  • Approximately 15,300 manholes
  • More than 22,615 catch basins
  • 29 stormwater ponds (wet and dry)
  • 39 pump stations
  • Approximately 124 kilometres of municipal drains
  • Approximately 254 kilometres of roadside ditches

The estimated replacement cost value of the existing stormwater system is approximately $1.82 billion as of 2018, or $1.93 billion in 2020 dollars.

Some of the City's management activities include the following:

  • Undertaking flood protection projects
  • Maintaining, repairing and restoring existing infrastructure
  • Providing emergency response to flooding, spills and clean-up
  • Carrying out street sweeping
  • Enforcing by-laws to protect the environment and prevent interference with the operation of the stormwater management system

Stormwater Financing Study

The City of Windsor retained consultant WSP (formerly known as Wood Environmental & Infrastructure) in association with Watson & Associates Economist Ltd. to undertake the Stormwater Financing Study. The goal of the study was to develop a balanced approach to funding stormwater management through a review of the level of service and funding options.

The study objectives were as follows:

  • Quantify the existing stormwater infrastructure program (including level of service)
  • Quantify the future stormwater infrastructure program needs (existing and enhanced service levels)
  • Investigate and recommend a preferred alternative for funding the future stormwater infrastructure program that is fair and equitable.

The study report has been completed, and the findings were endorsed by City Council in January 2021. Download a copy of the Final Study Report.

Learn more about this study by watching our video presentation. Download a PDF copy of the video presentation transcript.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Learn more about how the City manages stormwater and about the Stormwater Financing Project by reviewing the Frequently Asked Questions.

Don’t see your question? Ask it here:

Project Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding the Study, please email:

Need to talk to someone about City of Windsor services or information? 311 is the number you need to remember!

For detailed inquiries, call Marc Di Domenico, P. Eng. at (519) 255-6100 ext. 6452.

For general information, call 311.