A Scan of Natural Infrastructure Approaches

Bright spots from the City of Nelson, Halifax Region Municipality, and EPCOR

This report looks at successful natural infrastructure implementation to deliver municipal services in Canadian municipalities, Identifying how Edmonton, Alberta; Nelson, British Columbia; and the Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia are paving the way.

By Ashley Rawluk, Josée Méthot on May 2, 2024
  • Natural infrastructure, like wetlands, can complement existing grey infrastructure to enhance the delivery of municipal services.

  • Regardless of size, jurisdictions in Canada are successfully implementing natural infrastructure—through policy and planning changes, collaborating across departments and with partner organizations, and more.

  • Each jurisdiction is different and needs to develop solutions that align with its own municipal processes.

Local governments play a crucial role in providing essential services to residents, such as drinking water, wastewater treatment, stormwater management, flood protection, and rural drainage. Traditionally, these services rely on grey infrastructure, like dams, pipes, and treatment facilities. However, there is a growing interest in using natural infrastructure to complement these services, especially in response to the increasing challenges posed by climate change.

Several jurisdictions in Canada, including the City of Nelson, Halifax Regional Municipality, and EPCOR, based in Edmonton, Alberta, are taking the lead on successful natural infrastructure implementation. These cases serve as models for others, showcasing effective policy changes in different administrative, jurisdictional, and geographic settings.

White text on a blue background that reads: "The City of Nelson, Halifax Regional Municipality, and EPCOR are paving the way forward with successfully implementing natural infrastructure to deliver municipal services"

Report details

Climate Change Adaptation
Focus area
IISD, 2024