Green Infrastructure

In a healthy landscape, water is a valuable resource that is critical for life. In a landscape that lacks dense plant cover and soil life, water can be a harmful and destructive, eroding soil, leaching nutrients and destroying homes and infrastructure.

Increasing severity of weather events due to the heating climate is further exacerbating the effects of heavy rain and insufficient plant cover, damaging both urban and rural lands, ecosystems and communities.

Regenerative Water Management:

Rain fall is slowed by leaf cover, soaked into soil that is porous, aggregated by root systems and soil biology and infiltrated into water tables or filtered through the ground and discharged into rivers and lakes.

Water from precipitation is collected high in landscapes for use during dry periods.

Water is utilized in ways that leaves it clean or kept within a contained system until it is cleaned of everything that is not a resource for natural ecosystems.

Landscapes are irrigated with water that has not been chemically treated, transported long distances or drawn from depleting aquifers. 

Degenerative Water Management

Rain falls directly onto bare soil or hard surfaces. Rather than soaking in, it flows across compacted soils, impermeable surfaces, or bare earth, eroding soil and carrying pollutants and sediment into rivers and lakes.

Water flows away from where it falls quickly, leading to increased flooding downstream.

Lack of infiltration, leaving ecosystems more susceptible to drought conditions.

Polluting water and not ensuring that it is cleaned before being released back into natural systems.

Irrigating landscapes with treated water and/or water drawn from aquifers that are being depleted faster than they can refill

Articles and General Information:

Valuing natural infrastructure

Urbanization Effect on Hydrology

Circular cities of the world: What can green infrastructure do?

WWF-Canada chloride maps show devastating effects of road salt.  

New maps highlight changes coming to Canada’s climate

All the things a tree does in urban landscapes: (Video)

Insurance Bureau of Canada report on the importance of natural infrastructure in preventing catastrophic flooding

Research and Technical Resources:

Green Infrastructure Guide for Small Cities, Towns and Rural Communities (Canadian Publication)

Soil restoration information and online tools

Sustainable Technologies wiki

Canadian Watershed Map (Government of Canada online tool)

Ontario Watershed Map

Detailed historical weather data by city

Canadian Soil maps and land inventory, to assist with infiltration rate analysis (Government of Canada online tool)

Canadian weather statistics 

Average Annual Precipitation for Canadian Cities

Information document on Green Wall systems

Research papers on soil compaction, rehabilitation and urbanization

Research paper effect of urban soil compaction on infiltration rate

Research paper Influence of urban land development and subsequent soil rehabilitation on soil aggregates, carbon, and hydraulic conductivity

Research paper on Amending Soils for Enhanced Infiltration of Storm water 

Research paper on Compacted Urban Soils and their Remediation

Research paper on restoring hydrological function of soil through subsoiling

Restoring hydrological function through urban subsoiling  
- Full document can be requested here

Water Management and Green Infrastructure
Groups and Organizations

Green Infrastructure Ontario actively advocates for greening urban environments as a means of mitigating the effects of climate and ecosystem degradation

Credit Valley Conservation has been a leader in the development of Low impact Design for stormwater management 

Rainwater Harvesting and Management course at Gaia College (Online)

Living Green Infrastructure course at Gaia College (online)

The Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program (STEP) is a conservation authority-led initiative that fosters broader implementation of technologies that protect water resources and reduce our carbon footprint. 

Canadian Association for Rainwater Management

American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association

SOUL Resources:

Improving and Sustaining the Performance of Living Green Infrastructure (LGI) (PDF)

Canadian Society for Organic Urban Land Care (SOUL)
Contact Us

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software