When we purchased our house in Waterloo four years ago we suspected that we’d have to deal with some water issues. The houses behind ours are situated 1.5-2 metres above us and that means that a large portion of their water run-off would be coming into our backyard. We realized then that we’d eventually have to deal with this excess water somehow and that it would have to take place sooner rather than later. Last fall we were really tired of our backyard always being a soggy mess. Due to the high moisture content of the soil, that summer we had lost a pear tree in our backyard. The soil was so wet that the tree blew over (roots and all) during an intense rain storm. The majority of our back lawn was moss instead of grass. We were concerned that water would soon start to seep into our basement and would result in costly repairs. I suspected that climate change was only going to make those intense summer rainstorms worse.
Our first stop in planning a strategy to deal with the water was to check out the City of Waterloo website. From there we were directed to an organization called REEP Green Solutions , a local non-profit agency that offers RAIN home visits that advise homeowners on how they can reduce the risk of flood damage to their home and conserve rainwater for watering lawns and gardens. We signed up for a visit and got some excellent advice.
From there we interviewed several contractors and ultimately went with a company that had done a similar project at another house in the neighbourhood where the focus had been on solving some major water issues. In addition to completely transforming other aspects of our backyard, we installed a rain garden and several rain barrels to deal with the huge amounts of water coming into our backyard. We were very glad that we did this as this summer Waterloo experienced several flash flooding events; had we not addressed the problem our basement would have flooded for sure. Due to our renovations we are also eligible for a storm water rebate.
Last night we were very pleased to attend the 15th anniversary celebration of REEP and received an award in the residential category for our water management efforts. It was a wonderful community event and served to highlight the great work that this organization is doing and how small changes that homeowners and businesses make can lead to big impacts.