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.


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 hoses cannot be directed onto neighbouring properties. Refer to Community Standards Bylaw 32M2023 (page 20).

Example of downspouts

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

View the Stormwater Bylaw or visit our bylaws related to drainage web page for more information.

Example of ground drainage (Swales)