Diverting rain water in Ottawa one garden at a time

OTTAWA — On Sunday residents of Manordale-Woodvale came together to create a rain garden in Manordale Park, in partnership with the city of Ottawa and EnviroCentre.  

The garden is part of a pilot project the city is offering called Rain Ready Ottawa

The program encourages and supports residents to take action on their property to reduce harmful impacts of rainwater runoff.

According to the city of Ottawa, rainwater that falls on roofs and driveways often flows onto roadways and into the storm sewers and then into our waterways untreated.

Runoff can collect pollutants from roads and driveways and cause damage to the delicate ecosystems in our rivers. Rain gardens can play an important role in protecting river ecosystems and helping build Ottawa’s climate resiliency.

Jennifer Stelzer of EnviroCentre says these gardens help provide a place for rainwater to soak into the ground allowing natural filtration processes to remove pollutants.

“Rain gardens are important because in our urban environment we have paved over a lot of natural spaces we need to allow water to infiltrate into the ground,” Stelzer said. “We need residents to be doing this on their own property so that’s why we put in the demonstration garden here.”

Along with gardens the program offers rebates to residents who live in priority areas, some as high as $5,000.

Rain Ready Ottawa Rebates:

  • Downspout redirection (Up to $1,000)
  • Rain garden installation (Up to $2,500)
  • Soakway pit installation (Up to $2,500)
  • Permeable pavements (Up to $5,000)
  • Certified landscape designs ($500)

Simon Greenland-Smith of the city of Ottawa says they want to encourage and support residents in their efforts to mitigate the harmful effects of rainfall runoff. 

“It’s a piece that is going to make the neighborhood and the community building here look nicer it also adds a bit of function to the area which I think people really appreciate,” Greenland-Smith said. “We are looking for other areas in the city to install them because we believe that if rain gardens go in across the city they can have a little impact here, but together they can have a big impact.”

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