Ready for Rain Peterborough
Do you ever worry about flooding when it rains? Curious about what happens to rain after it hits the ground? Interested in techniques to reduce runoff and keep water clean?
Rain, also known as stormwater in cities, is an essential part of life – but too much rain can reduce water quality and cause flooding. As climate change progresses, so too do more frequent and high-volume rain storms.
Let’s get Ready for Rain, Peterborough!
What happens to water when it rains?
Rainwater travels a natural path downhill when it rains, flowing until it can be absorbed. As water finds its way into the ground, it is naturally filtered (by plants and soil) as it travels through the natural water cycle.
Through urban development, pavement has disrupted the natural flow of rain, sending rainwater through storm drains and pipe systems to the nearest waterbody. The water flowing off of rooftops and pavement and into storm sewers is NOT treated or filtered before it enters local waterways, such as Jackson Creek or the Otonabee River.
As rainwater flows over paved surfaces, such as driveways and roads, it picks up contaminants (animal waste, such as dog poop, oil from cars, and lawn fertilizers) and takes them with it into rivers and streams, preventing the recharge of groundwater, degrading water quality, and damaging aquatic habitat.
During times of heavy rain, water can quickly overwhelm the urban system of storm drains and pipes, leading to increased flood risk, property damage, and further water quality degradation.
What are possible actions and solutions?
Ready for Rain Peterborough encourages residents and neighbourhoods to conserve water and take action on flooding while creating a healthier environment for everyone in the Otonabee River watershed.
One of the best things you can do to be ready for rain is to install a rain garden! Rethink the Rain and learn how you can receive financial and technical support through the NEW Rain Garden Subsidy Program with the City of Peterborough and GreenUP!
What is a Rain Garden?
A rain garden is a bowl shaped garden designed to absorb and naturally clean the rain that runs off of roofs, driveways, and roads.
A small rain garden can divert as much as 10,000 litres per year, which is enough water to fill 6 hot tubs!
Rain gardens plants add shade and beauty, and provide habitat for local pollinators.
Would you like to learn more about installing a rain garden? Check out the Event Calendar to learn about upcoming workshops!
Over the past 20 years, Peterborough has experienced some of the most dramatic flooding events in the city’s history. With a changing climate and projections for increased rainfall in Southern Ontario, it is expected that there will be an increase in flood events similar to those that occurred in 2004. Reliance on stormwater infrastructure that was built for the past century will not suffice when we are faced with more frequent and intense storms that are projected for this century. Rather than view this as an obstacle that needs to be overcome, the groundbreakers program aims to use this as an opportunity to promote more sustainable and ecologically sound rainwater management solutions that protect against flooding, help keep our precious water resources healthy, and allow money savings.
In Peterborough, our stormwater infrastructure blends into the background, hidden away as pipes, sewers, drains, and ponds which can foster an attitude toward complacency. Cities across North America have been experimenting with new and novel ways of creating storm water infrastructure that creates opportunities for education, beautification, and reduces the cost of maintaining and installing traditional water management structures. Now it’s Peterborough’s turn to lead the way!
In response, The GreenUP Ready for Rain Peterborough program installed eight rain gardens in The Avenues and Bolivar Street neighbourhood.
Neighbourhood residents organized volunteers to help with the planting, invited their entire street to come learn through the experience, and opened their kitchens to help feed hungry volunteers.
This project was possible due to generous funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and dynamic partnerships with GreenUP, Green Communities Canada, City of Peterborough, Basterfield Landscape Architects, and Peterborough citizens living in these neighbourhoods.
This map was created in 2016, in order to identify areas where water accumulates in the spring and fall, or during heavy rain storms. Feel free to add comments where water pools on your property or in your neighbourhood!
You can also add to the map where rain gardens could help reduce flood risk, or if you are planning on installing a rain garden on your property.
Program Contact Information
Name: Jenn McCallum
Position: Water Programs Coordinator
Phone: 705-745-3238 ext. 208
Name: Heather Ray
Position: Water Programs Coordinator