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Eligibility - Residential

A stormwater pond

Residents qualify for a credit by implementing an approved stormwater management practice on their property. These credits are calculated based on the total potential volume of rainwater captured and diverted from the municipal stormwater system. The greater the potential volume of stormwater collected using the approved best management practices listed below, the larger the credit granted (see table below).

Volume range (L)

Credit granted (%)









3201 and greater


Note: The minimum volume eligible for a credit is 200 litres.

The following stormwater best management practices qualify for a residential stormwater fee credit:

Rain barrel/cistern

A rain barrel captures rainwater from rooftop downspouts. The barrel is able to store the rainwater for future use. A cistern performs the same service as a rain barrel, but is larger in size. The following are required, in order to qualify for a stormwater credit using a rain barrel or cistern:

  • It must hold a minimum of 200 litres/52 gallons.
  • The barrel should be properly positioned on a flat surface.
  • The cover and barrel cannot have cracks, leaks or be broken in any way.
  • There must be a screen covering the opening of the barrel to prevent contaminants and bugs from entering.
  • The elbow of the eavestrough must be attached properly so that water is flowing into the barrel.
  • The overflow spout should not be draining to an impervious surface (sidewalk, driveway, other pavement).



Trees provide many benefits for stormwater management. A tree canopy is able to intercept rainfall and release it back into the atmosphere through a process called evaotranspiration. Additionally, tree root systems help promote infiltration and reduce erosion. For this credit, trees are measured based on their diameter at breast height (DBH). There are two levels for the tree credit and both are based on the sum of the individual trees' DBH.

  • For level 1, the tree diameter must exceed 100 cm/40 inches to qualify for a credit of 200L. This is the approximate equivalent of having five trees with a trunk the size of a dinner plate.
  • Level 2, the tree diameter must exceed250 cm/100 inches to qualify for a credit of 500L.  This is the approximate equivalent of having 13 large trees with the trunk size of a dinner plate.   
  • Watch a video about measuring tree DBH

Infiltration gallery

Infiltration galleries have many names including soakaway pits, dry wells and french drains. Whatever you call them, they all have the same purpose: to allow clean water to soak into the ground and recharge our drinking water sources. Infiltration galleries are underground pits that are filled with materials such as clear stone, or gravel that provide a storage space for water while it is absorbed into the ground, eventually making its way into the groundwater table. The galleries receive clean rainwater from rooftops, so that our groundwater does not become contaminated. In the Region of Waterloo, 80% of drinking water comes from the groundwater table, which infiltration galleries help to replenish.

Tips for maintaining your infiltration gallery: 

  • Infiltration galleries should be a minimum of five metres away from the house to prevent issues with basement flooding or sump pumps.
  • There should be nothing blocking the flow into the pit or chamber (e.g., debris)
  • Rainwater should be routed from the eavestroughs into the infiltration gallery.
  • Eavestroughs should have gutter guards installed to prevent debris from plugging the infiltration galleries. Eavestroughs should be inspected regularly.
  • Read about different infiltration practices

Rain garden

A rain garden is a garden built into a shallow depression in the ground. It is a simple yet very effective strategy for collecting stormwater. The depression allows the water time to infiltrate into the ground rather than becoming runoff. This credit requires the following qualifications:   

  • A quantifiable volume of water must be held on your property.
  • Water from impervious surfaces such as rooftops need to be routed directly to the rain garden.
  • The water should soak into the soil within 72 hours of the rainfall event.