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
Canadian Watershed Map (Government of Canada online tool)
Detailed historical weather data by city
Canadian Soil maps and land inventory, to assist with infiltration rate analysis (Government of Canada online tool)
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
Water Management and Green Infrastructure
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
Improving and Sustaining the Performance of Living Green Infrastructure (LGI) (PDF)