Stormwater Bylaw for homeowners

As a homeowner, there are simple things you should be aware of when it comes to lot drainage. Remember - you play an important role in Calgary’s stormwater management.

Lot Drainage

A lot is a property intended for development. Lot drainage is any aspect of grading, constructed elements, or landscaping that direct stormwater runoff on a lot (from rain, hail or snow) to flow overland from the property.

Good lot drainage directs stormwater runoff away from permanent structures (homes and garages) to landscaped areas where runoff can soak into the ground, and along a drainage path to the stormwater system.

For more information on lot drainage and what you can do if you have lot drainage issues, please read the homeowner's guide to lot drainage.

To learn more about your legal responsibilities when it comes to lot drainage please see our:

If your neighbour is violating the Stormwater bylaw contact 311.


The Stormwater Bylaw requires downspouts end at least two metres (6.6 feet) away from any sidewalk, road, pathway, alley, lane or surface drainage facility. This prevents ice forming on sidewalks and lanes in the winter.

Downspouts should be pointed toward the front or back of the property so that runoff can drain to the lane or street.

Water from eavestroughs, downspouts or hoses cannot be directed onto neighbouring properties. Refer to Community Standards Bylaw 5M2004 (page 24).

Surface Drainage Facilities (Swales)

The Stormwater Bylaw requires that homeowners keep surface drainage facilities such as swales, free of obstructions. Many of the swales you may come across are made of concrete and run across the back of your property.

If a fence must be built over a swale, six inches (15 cm.) of clearance is required between the swale and the bottom of the fence.

Prohibited Materials

It is an offence under the stormwater bylaw to allow any prohibited material to enter the stormwater system. Some examples of prohibited materials are:

  • Soil
  • Sediment
  • Cooking oils
  • Grease
  • Water from hot tubs
  • Soaps
  • Detergents
  • Gasoline
  • Motor oil
  • Solvents
  • Paint
  • Pesticides
  • Sawdust
  • Grass or hedge clippings