Stormwater is rain and melted snow. Generally, the more hard surfaces a property has the more stormwater will flow off it and into the sewer system. An increase in extreme storms, combined with more paved surfaces in the city is resulting in more stormwater making its way into the sewer system. This has led to an increase in flooded basements and is contributing to poor water quality in local waterways including Lake Ontario.
Making infrastructure improvements is necessary to manage the impacts of stormwater. To help manage stormwater, the City is creating new holding ponds, tanks and tunnels, and revamping some sewer infrastructure that is more than 100 years old. This work will help to decrease the number of basements that experience sewer back-up and improve the water quality in local waterways and Lake Ontario.
Currently, stormwater management is being paid for from the water rate, which means the amount homeowners pay for stormwater management is based on how much water they use. The stormwater charge proposal is to remove the portion homeowners currently pay for stormwater management (currently embedded in the water rate), and show it as a separate charge on the water bill. The water rate would decrease and a stormwater charge would be added. The amount paid for stormwater would be based on property size and the average amount of hard space on properties of a similar size. Some bills would go up and some bills would go down.
The following example uses the average household water consumption of 265 cubic meters a year and assumes a medium size lot of 0.037 hectares (approximately 4,000 square feet, measuring 35 feet wide by 115 feet deep):
Option 1: pay based only on how much water I useOption 2: pay less for how much water I use and charge me separately for stormwater based on the average amount of hard space on properties of my size