Stormwater - FAQs


The stormwater charge has helped to fund more than 300 City programs and initiatives, including:  


  • cleaning and clearing of the City’s more than 22,000 catch basins.
  • routine camera inspection of more than 1,000 kilometres of stormwater pipes.
  • inspection of the City’s nearly 150 stormwater management ponds and clean-out of critical ponds.
  • prevention of erosion and degradation of more than 150 kilometres of the City’s natural creek system.
  • proactive improvement and preventative repair of stormwater infrastructure. 

No, the stormwater charge is not a new fee. The stormwater charge began appearing as a separate item on utility bills in June 2017. Prior to June 2017, stormwater services were funded through property taxes and the wastewater fee. As a growing city, Vaughan must be prepared to address challenges such as a rising population, weather-related events and enhanced regulatory requirements.


Although the annual stormwater charge begins to appear on Alectra Utilities invoices in May, the fee covers the entire calendar year.


Stormwater is rainwater and melted snow that runs off lawns, streets and other land surfaces. This runoff is supposed to be absorbed by plants and soils or make its way back to ponds and streams. However, more hard surfaces — such as pavement, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks and roofs — especially in urban areas, prevent this runoff from naturally soaking into the ground.


The calculation method involves categorizing similar properties, determining the total land area of each category and applying the runoff coefficient (a number that changes depending on the surface the rainfall falls on). Categories that have larger building footprints or paved areas generate more runoff. The more runoff a category produces, the larger its cost is on the City’s stormwater system. Those costs for stormwater services are divided by the number of properties within a category to arrive at the flat rate per property type.


No. The stormwater charge will only appear on utility bills for residential and commercial customers once per year. The 2022 charge for residential customers living in detached homes is $55.76 per year.


The 2022 stormwater charge rates are provided below in accordance with By-law 199-2020 (PDF): 

Property Type


2022 Stormwater Charge
(one-time annual fee)

Non-residential (small)

Less than 1 acre


Non-residential (medium)

1 to 10 acres


Non-residential (large)

More than 10 acres





Residential (low density)

Typically single detached homes


Residential (medium density)

Typically townhouses


Residential (high density)

Typically condominiums


The rates are reviewed every year and both rate and user-fee adjustments are recommended to Council for approval.


Stormwater has several environmental impacts. Excess runoff that does not soak into the ground can pick up pollutants such as oil, pesticides, bacteria and trash before flowing into storm drains, drainage ditches and creeks. This water is not cleaned at a treatment plant first and it does not get naturally filtered by the soil before it flows into rivers and lakes that supply our drinking water. It can cause higher and faster water flow during storms which could lead to flooding. It can erode rivers and streams and collect waste and debris downstream. It can also impact water quality and result in the reduction and loss of aquatic life and diversity.


Stormwater management programs help protect the environment, property and water quality. The City provides several services to manage the stormwater system, including:


  • testing the quality of stormwater before it enters streams and creeks.
  • inspecting stormwater outlets to ensure there are no blockages to water flow.
  • maintaining and repairing the hundreds of kilometres of pipes that make up the public drainage system to prevent backups and counteract the impact of spills.
  • finding solutions for cleaning stormwater ponds in densely populated areas of the city.
  • street sweeping to remove debris before it reaches streams. 

Yes. The City’s stormwater system currently includes more than 1,000 kilometres of pipes, more than 22,000 catch basins and 150 stormwater ponds.


There are many things that citizens can do to help minimize the impacts of stormwater, including: 


  • cleaning up litter.
  • using less fertilizers or biodegradable fertilizers that contain no harmful chemicals.
  • allowing plants and trees to grow in their natural and original habitats, such as those found near creeks and streams.
  • disposing of toxic products at local household hazardous waste centres.
  • capturing stormwater through rain barrels and other methods.