City to review Outside Water Use By-law and program

GUELPH, ON, December 14, 2012 – In the new year, residents and businesses will have an opportunity to provide input when the City reviews its Outside Water Use By-law and program.

An information report, going to Council on Monday, outlines the reasons behind the review including feedback received from the public this past summer.

“During last summer’s drought, many community stakeholders expressed concern over the current by-law restrictions under the Outside Water Use Program (OWUP), as well as the relevance of some permitted watering activities in reference to current social norms and practices,” says Wayne Galliher, the City’s water conservation project manager


“A review and update of the by-law and program allows us to consult with community members and stakeholders regarding the City’s response to future drought conditions. By doing so, we can ensure the program continues to protect Guelph’s precious groundwater resources.”

Since the program and by-law’s implementation in 2003, daily annual peak day demands have decreased by more than 11.8 million litres per day extending sustainability of local groundwater resources, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, and deferring construction and operating investments of new water infrastructure to satisfy peak seasonal water use demands, only experienced a few days per year.

The by-law review is expected to be done by next spring with recommendations for amendments being provided for Council’s consideration and deliberation at that time. The City will also be initiating an update of Guelph’s Water Supply Master Plan (WSMP) in 2013 with changes to the OWUP and bylaw feeding directly into the update.

About the Outside Water Use Program

The City’s Outside Water Use Program (OWUP) is one of the most successful and recognized water conservation programs in Ontario. The program aims to conserve Guelph’s groundwater supply and protect against the impact of drought during the summer months.

The OWUP has three levels that affect outside water use: Level 0 Blue—careful use; Level 1 Yellow—reduce outside use; and Level 2 Red—reduce and stop non-essential use. These levels are triggered by dry weather and local watershed conditions in accordance the Province of Ontario’s Low Water Response Plan.

The OWUP is supported by the Outside Water Use By-law which applies to all outdoor water use within the City, specifically to any person using water and the owner of any property where water is used, unless the water being used is not supplied by the municipal water supply.

For more information

Wayne Galliher 
Water Conservation Project Manager 
Water Services 
T 519-822-1260 x 2106