Toronto Basement Flooding Protection Program 2018 budget needed in 2017

Published: December 13, 2016

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



The Toronto City Council announced on Tuesday it will consider a proposal for it to bring forward 2018’s budget for the city’s basement flooding protection program into 2017. The advance would allow Toronto to implement flood protection methods more easily.

Toronto’s Basement Flooding Protection Program brings surface storage ponds to the city. The program also contributes towards an underground storm storage tank and upgrade storm and sanitary sewers. Action was taken after a severe flood in the city during August 2005. The council acted the next year and the Basement Flooding Protection Program was approved in April, 2006.

The 2005 thunderstorm caused $600 million in damage in Toronto, which included the collapse of the Finch Avenue bridge over Black Creek. With major rain even increasing, the city was pushed into creating a flood protection program. The program states that the city must have an anti-flood infrastructure to manage a one-in-100 year storm event.

In the Toronto Water 2017-2026 capital plan allocated $1.527 billion for “projects in 67 chronic basement flooding areas across the city,” Toronto Water stated in a staff report released in October.

The allocation for basement flooding is about 13% of Toronto Water’s total 10-year capital plan of $12.02 billion.

However, now there are calls for the 2018 allocated budget to be brought to 2017. A motion has been tabled “to advance the 2018 cashflow for the Basement Flooding projects into 2017, should it become evident that greater than planned volume of work can be completed, and that the 2018- 2026 budgeted cash flows be adjusted accordingly as part of the 2018 Budget process.”

“As of the end of October 2016, Basement Flooding Environmental Assessment (EA) studies for 30 basement flooding study areas have been completed,” Toronto Water stated in a recent staff report. “These EA studies investigate the causes of basement and surface flooding and recommend sewer system improvements to reduce the risk of future basement flooding during extreme storms.”

 “During storm events larger than a 2 to 5 year return period, stormwater flows can exceed the carrying capacity of the underground storm sewer system and excess water will remain on the road and flow downhill along streets, open channels, and walkways,” Toronto Water’s general manager stated in a report to city council’s public works and infrastructure committee in September, 2013.