Outside Water Use By-law and Program Review

Guelph is a community that depends on groundwater to meet our drinking water needs. As our City grows and changes over time, it is important that we work together to conserve water for future generations and to protect against the impacts of drought—particularly during dry summer periods.

The Outside Water Use By-law and Program has been in place in Guelph for over 10 years. During prolonged periods of drought in 2012, the City of Guelph implemented enhanced water use restrictions under the By-law to ensure there was enough water to support both the needs of the City and the local environment. At the time, both residents and businesses expressed some concern over aspects of the By-law, including permissible water uses during extreme periods of drought.

In response to concerns about the By-law and to ensure that we manage our water needs in the best way possible, the City of Guelph Water Services Department initiated a review of the Outside Water Use By-law and Program in December 2012 to:

  • Discuss successes and explore aspects of the Outside Water Use By-law and Program that are working well; and
  • Examine opportunities for changes to the Program and By-law that could help the City better manage our water resources into the future.
This  review process reached completion in March 2014 with City Council’s approval of the revised Outside Water Use By-law  (By-law number 2014—19714). The City of Guelph would like to thank local residents, business and other stakeholders for their participation and contributions to this process.  Included below for reference is further information on the by-law review process, and supporting information developed as part of the review.

By-law review process

Managing our water supply is the responsibility of everyone in Guelph—including local residents, businesses, institutions, industry and the City itself. As a result, the Outside Water Use By-law Review process sought to engage as many people and organizations as possible to join the conversation in order to understand how we can best manage our local water resources and what the impacts of any proposed changes to the City’s Outside Water Use By-law and Program might be.

The Outside Water Use By-law review process was set up as a three phase process with multiple ways for local stakeholders get involved. The process, designed in accordance with the City’s Community Engagement Framework, has included diverse opportunities to join the conversation, including:

  • Meetings with the Water Conversation and Efficiency Public Advisory Committee
  • Business and Industry Roundtable Discussions
  • Engaging residents in two rounds of community forums
  • Opportunities to participate online through the project webpage using our online discussion guide and reading background resources
  • • A residential call survey to 400 households in the Guelph community
  • Discussing and listening to the community via Twitter and Facebook
  • Talking with you directly by phone or email.

A complete overview of this process by phase is provided below for reference.

Process overview

Phase 1
Issues and opportunities – completed

  • Learning about the OWUP and By-law
  • Exploring what is working well and opportunities for improvement

January-February 2013

  • PAC Meeting
  • Business Roundtable
  • Community Forums
  • Online Participation
  • Social Media

Phase 2
Future directions – completed

  • Discussing possible changes to the OWUP and By-law based on community feedback in Phase 1
  • Identifying the preferred changes

April-May 2013

  • PAC Meeting
  • Business Roundtable
  • Community Forums
  • Online Participation
  • Social Media

Phase 3
Confirming the results – in progress

  • Posting of proposed changes to By-law for public comment
  • Recommendations for By-law changes presented to Council

June 2013-February 2014

  • Residential Call Survey
  • Online Participation
  • Social Media
  • Council Presentation
  • Final Report and Engagement Summary

Phase 3 infomation

Phase 3 Telephone Survey Results Report Proposed OWU By-law Changes Summary Summary of stakeholder comments and staff response Outside Water Use By-law Review Report to Guelph City Council #1 – October 2013  Outside Water Use By-law Review Report to Guelph City Council #2 – February 2014 Outside Water Use By-law  (by-law number 2014  – 19714)

Phase 2 information

Phase 2 Community Forum OWUP Review Phase 2 Discussion Guide OWUP Review Phase 2 Engagement Summary

Phase 1 information

OWUP Review Phase 1 Discussion Guide OWUP Review Phase 1 Engagement Summary