Advanced computer modelling to understand and manage stormwater is common in urban areas but managing rural runoff with software and event-based modelling is much less common for rural areas and it is needed for those who work with landowners to enact soil and water conservation projects.

Slow it down. Hold it back. Soak it in.

Management of water running off of land during storm events can help to reduce bacteria and pathogens; sediment; and chemicals from reaching storm sewers, creeks, rivers, and drinking water sources such as Lake Huron.

We are trying to find the projects that work best, help get them in the places they can do the most good, and find the best scale for those projects to work well.

Who are we?

•   Healthy Lake Huron: Clean Water, Clean Beaches is a partnership of federal and provincial ministries, local conservation agencies, public health, county and local government, community groups, and landowners along Lake Huron’s southeast shores  (www.healthylakehuron.ca).

What is the Rural Stormwater Management Model (RSWMM) Project?

The Rural Stormwater Management Model Project (2012-2014) is in its third and final full year of a project to develop this RSWMM model.
•   Funding has been provided by the Ontario Ministry of Environment Showcasing Water Innovation program and the Healthy Lake Huron: Clean Water, Clean Beaches partners.
•   Assisting with model development is a cooperative team made up of an Ontario firm, Computational Hydraulics International (CHI), consultant in stormwater management, wastewater and watershed modeling software; and  a Minnesota firm, Emmons & Olivier Resources, Inc. (EOR), an engineering and environmental consulting firm that specialize in water resources, watershed planning, and modeling.
•   The pending model builds upon PCSWMM software which is a powerful software support package for the SWMM model used by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Urban areas already use advanced stormwater modelling. Some existing models have some rural features. We need a model that combines multiple urban and rural features. This new model will build upon the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Stormwater Management Model (SWMM) and the PCSWMM software which is a powerful support package for SWMM modeling. The new model will combine urban modeling features with rural features such as agricultural best management practices; understanding of changes from season to season or even within a season (such as changes in crop cover); modeling of roads, ditches, and culverts; slope and terrain types; dynamic travel of water running over land; tracking of key pollutants (sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen); and other features.

As part of developing and testing the model, the scientific outcomes of this project will include:
•   Better data through the installation of five new or upgraded monitoring stations in five priority watersheds;
•   Increased understanding of rural flow systems;
•   More systematic understanding of the impacts of best management practices – determining which projects work best, in which areas, and at what scale.

The project will benefit society by making it possible for stewardship professionals, working with landowners, to identify and implement the most effective projects to reduce impacts on lakes and rivers, reduce health risks, reduce storm runoff, preserve topsoil and limit soil erosion, and optimize use of limited funding.

The project will also assist municipalities as they design projects and do planning that helps understand and reduce the impacts of rainwater and melting snow as that water runs over land during storms and weather events.

The project shows a collaborative integrated watershed management model in action through the pooling of resources and the sharing of information.

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) is leading the Rural Stormwater Management Model project in partnership with Maitland Valley, St. Clair Region, Saugeen Valley, and Grey-Sauble conservation authorities and other partners including the Healthy Lake Huron: Clean Water, Clean Beaches (Lake Huron Southeast Shores) initiative, an inter-agency partnership. Project partners include provincial and federal ministries, county departments, health units, environmental agencies, and landowners. The partners will complete the new rural model project between 2012 and 2014.

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment announced, on December 20, 2011, a Showcasing Water Innovation Program grant of $700,000 towards this new, and truly rural, water-quality initiative. Additional support and in-kind contributions of more than $200,000 will come from other partners. This water-quality project will improve knowledge of how agricultural and rural drainage function in a rural landscape. The new model will acquire more detailed and precise information on how to manage any stormwater impact during spring time and heavy rainfall events. This increased understanding will guide new stewardship projects designed to effectively reduce and manage runoff.

Rural Stormwater Management Model Project
c/o Ausable Bayfield Conservation, 
71108 Morrison Line, RR 3 Exeter, ON • N0M 1S5
519–235–2610 • 1–888–286–2610
abca.on.ca • info@abca.on.ca
Attention:  Alec Scott, Project Manager



Website and Document Search
Project featured provincewide
Ontario has released a final report about communities in the province that have developed new water management tools with support of Ontario’s Showcasing Water Innovation program. A project by Ausable Bayfield Conservation and the Healthy Lake Huron: C
Friday, November 27, 2015   [details]

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