Across Canada, many municipalities are struggling both to maintain their existing storm and wastewater infrastructure and also with expanding it to meet future needs. A report from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) found that roughly $50 billion is needed across the nation in order to replace or repair municipal storm and wastewater infrastructure. This report joins others published by organizations such as the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association and the Canadian Water Network indicating that local governments across Canada are facing significant infrastructure deficits and that much of the core infrastructure on which current cities rely is outdated and under-maintained. As cities continue to grow, the expanded needs for waste and stormwater will also grow, both as needed for new housing and other development as also as a result of the increase of impermeable surface area that comes with development. Both of these trends will only be exacerbated by climate change’s effect on local weather patterns; it is likely that extreme rainfall events will only become more common in the near future. The cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, officially distinct cities but whose boundaries have long since melded together, recognized the need for reforming their funding model for waste and stormwater management as it was continuously underfunded for years.
After an internal audit noted that the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo were underfunding their stormwater management infrastructure by $4.7 million every year, these cities undertook a revision of the infrastructure funding model in 2012 resulting in more money for stormwater management while at the same time incentivizing property owners to reduce the amount of overland runoff they generate. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities recently reported that more than $50 billion is needed to replace or repair municipal storm and wastewater infrastructure and the existing, aging, infrastructure is increasingly unable to handle the capacity of water flowing into the system. This issue will only be exacerbated as time goes, as the infrastructure deficit increases, the infrastructure itself ages and loses capacity, and the total volume of water entering the system increases due to climate change and an increase in impermeable surface area.