Soak it Up! Toolkit

How your community can save money and protect the environment by implementing green stormwater infrastructure across the urban landscape.

A toolkit of local programs and policies for decision-makers, practitioners, and influencers.


Our publication Soak it Up! Toolkit identifies tools for integrating green stormwater infrastructure across the urban landscape. Each section contains an overview, examples from real-world experience, and insights from practitioners about what works best–and what doesn’t.

More contents
  • Plan for green stormwater infrastructure. Adopt high-level commitments, policies, strategies, and implementation targets.
  • Engage the community. Secure buy-in and participation.
  • Build capacity. Develop skills, knowledge for practitioners and decision-makers.
  • Use green infrastructure for new developments. Make them shine.
  • Use green infrastructure on public lands. Parks, road rights-of-way, school yards, etc. are opportunities to implement functional green infrastructure.
  • Support your urban forest. Trees provide many benefits beyond stormwater management.
  • Charge user fees for stormwater services. Create a sustainable and fair funding source for stormwater infrastructure, both grey and green.
  • Manage rain on private property. Developed residential and commercial properties comprise the majority of the land base. Leverage implementation on private properties with programs, credits, and incentives.

The Soak it Up! toolkit was written and researched by Clara Blakelock and Clifford Maynes of Green Communities Canada. The first edition was published February 2016. Feel free to quote or excerpt with credit.

Thanks to all those who contributed comments, including:

  • Credit Valley Conservation
  • Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority
  • Lindsay Telfer (Freshwater Alliance)
  • Federation of Canadian Municipalities
  • Sharmalene Mendis-Millard, Heather Ray (Green UP)
  • Leta van Duin (Alberta Low Impact Development Partnership)
  • Sheila Boudreau and Patrick Cheung (City of Toronto)
  • Natalija Fisher (Environmental Defence)

Thanks also for input from those who attended our in-person workshops in December 2015. Green Communities Canada retains sole responsibility for the content.

This publication was made possible with funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

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