Learn More About Flooding

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Flooding - It Matters To Us All

On September 29, 2016, a flood occurred when 144% of the normal monthly rainfall amount was received in parts of East Windsor within a 24-hour period. Widespread flooding of roads, homes and businesses across the east end of the City caused sewers, drains, ponds and outlets to be overwhelmed. More than 2800 reports of basement flooding were recorded from the September 29, 2016 event and more than 6000 reports from the August 29, 2017 event. This translated into nearly $108 million dollars and $124 million dollars worth of damage claims, respectively, to the insurers for the two storms. This map displays where flooding events were reported by calls to the City of Windsor.

In an April 2017 flood survey conducted by the City, 63% of respondents indicated they had experienced basement flooding at some point while living in their current residence. The same survey noted that only half of the respondents who experienced flooding reported it to the City.

What Causes Flooding?

When rain hits the ground there are three main places it can go:

  • It can evaporate back into the atmosphere – this is not likely to occur during major rain storms
  • It can soak into the ground (called infiltration) - surfaces, like grass or soil, allow for a portion of the rainfall to soak or infiltrate into the ground. Hard surfaces including roads, sidewalks, driveways, and roofs are impervious surfaces; therefore, infiltration cannot occur.
  • It can flow or “runoff” over land – this is the water that enters Windsor’s sewer systems, creeks, drains and the Detroit River.

Rainfall-driven flooding is caused by either heavy or prolonged rainfall where surface runoff waters either escape from or cannot enter the drainage system and therefore remains on the surface and potentially enters buildings. Snowmelt can also create flooding conditions where ice blockage may reduce the flow of melting water.

In Windsor coastal flooding may occur from high water levels in Lake St. Clair or the Detroit River. The potential for this type of flooding is highest for properties closer to the lake and river. The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) has mapped areas with flooding potential along the coast of the lake and river and a permit from them is required for any construction or filling in these hazard areas.

Windsor’s Sewer System and Roads are Designed to Take the Water Away

Windsor’s storm sewer system, is composed of: storm sewers, ditches, catch basins, storage ponds, underground storage, roadways, and pump stations. Rain water ultimately flows into the Detroit River.

The sanitary sewer system takes the water that goes down the drain at your home or business to one of two Pollution Control Plants where it is treated before being released.

The storm sewer system in some parts of the City of Windsor is combined with the sanitary sewer system. In these areas the sewers carry water that goes down the drain in your house or business together with rainwater to the Pollution Control Plant where the water is treated before being released.

The storm and combined sewer systems are designed to carry rainfall from the size and intensity of storms that typically occur on average once in every five years. Rainfall from storms more intense than a once in every five years average, are designed to be carried by both the roadways and the storm and combined sewer systems. The reality is that the types of storms we are seeing are changing.

What Types of Flooding Can Occur?

Image of a flooded street with cars driving on. Image by Jason Kryk.Flooding of Roadways: If properly designed, roadways can provide temporary storage and conveyance of extra water during storm events. In Ontario, road design standards allow for a maximum depth of 0.30 m or approximately 12 inches of water to temporarily remain on the road during storms events that on average once in every hundred years. This design standard has been applied to newer subdivision development in the City of Windsor. Water on roadways at a depth above 0.30 m or 12 inches is above this design standard.

Flooding of Buildings: Flooding can happen in buildings from water that flows over land and enters the building through openings like doors and basement windows. Basement flooding can also occur from water entering through cracks in the foundation walls or a back-up of the sewer.

To learn more about the past City Action and Council Decisions, click here (The Mayor’s 8-point plan).

Want to help make a difference? Get Involved to provide us with feedback

Flooding - It Matters To Us All

On September 29, 2016, a flood occurred when 144% of the normal monthly rainfall amount was received in parts of East Windsor within a 24-hour period. Widespread flooding of roads, homes and businesses across the east end of the City caused sewers, drains, ponds and outlets to be overwhelmed. More than 2800 reports of basement flooding were recorded from the September 29, 2016 event and more than 6000 reports from the August 29, 2017 event. This translated into nearly $108 million dollars and $124 million dollars worth of damage claims, respectively, to the insurers for the two storms. This map displays where flooding events were reported by calls to the City of Windsor.

In an April 2017 flood survey conducted by the City, 63% of respondents indicated they had experienced basement flooding at some point while living in their current residence. The same survey noted that only half of the respondents who experienced flooding reported it to the City.

What Causes Flooding?

When rain hits the ground there are three main places it can go:

  • It can evaporate back into the atmosphere – this is not likely to occur during major rain storms
  • It can soak into the ground (called infiltration) - surfaces, like grass or soil, allow for a portion of the rainfall to soak or infiltrate into the ground. Hard surfaces including roads, sidewalks, driveways, and roofs are impervious surfaces; therefore, infiltration cannot occur.
  • It can flow or “runoff” over land – this is the water that enters Windsor’s sewer systems, creeks, drains and the Detroit River.

Rainfall-driven flooding is caused by either heavy or prolonged rainfall where surface runoff waters either escape from or cannot enter the drainage system and therefore remains on the surface and potentially enters buildings. Snowmelt can also create flooding conditions where ice blockage may reduce the flow of melting water.

In Windsor coastal flooding may occur from high water levels in Lake St. Clair or the Detroit River. The potential for this type of flooding is highest for properties closer to the lake and river. The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) has mapped areas with flooding potential along the coast of the lake and river and a permit from them is required for any construction or filling in these hazard areas.

Windsor’s Sewer System and Roads are Designed to Take the Water Away

Windsor’s storm sewer system, is composed of: storm sewers, ditches, catch basins, storage ponds, underground storage, roadways, and pump stations. Rain water ultimately flows into the Detroit River.

The sanitary sewer system takes the water that goes down the drain at your home or business to one of two Pollution Control Plants where it is treated before being released.

The storm sewer system in some parts of the City of Windsor is combined with the sanitary sewer system. In these areas the sewers carry water that goes down the drain in your house or business together with rainwater to the Pollution Control Plant where the water is treated before being released.

The storm and combined sewer systems are designed to carry rainfall from the size and intensity of storms that typically occur on average once in every five years. Rainfall from storms more intense than a once in every five years average, are designed to be carried by both the roadways and the storm and combined sewer systems. The reality is that the types of storms we are seeing are changing.

What Types of Flooding Can Occur?

Image of a flooded street with cars driving on. Image by Jason Kryk.Flooding of Roadways: If properly designed, roadways can provide temporary storage and conveyance of extra water during storm events. In Ontario, road design standards allow for a maximum depth of 0.30 m or approximately 12 inches of water to temporarily remain on the road during storms events that on average once in every hundred years. This design standard has been applied to newer subdivision development in the City of Windsor. Water on roadways at a depth above 0.30 m or 12 inches is above this design standard.

Flooding of Buildings: Flooding can happen in buildings from water that flows over land and enters the building through openings like doors and basement windows. Basement flooding can also occur from water entering through cracks in the foundation walls or a back-up of the sewer.

To learn more about the past City Action and Council Decisions, click here (The Mayor’s 8-point plan).

Want to help make a difference? Get Involved to provide us with feedback