City presents recommended changes to water efficiency programs and services

Changes will make saving water easier

Guelph, Ont., April 26, 2016—A draft of the City’s final report on the Water Efficiency Strategy update is now available for public review and comment. The strategy update began in May 2015 and included multiple opportunities for public input and review through focused stakeholder meetings, open houses and online participation. Feedback from these engagement opportunities was used to inform the program and service improvements recommended in the report.

“It’s been a very consultative, positive and constructive process,” remarked Emily Stahl, Supervisor of Water Efficiency for the City. “People in our community genuinely care about our water resources; they have really great ideas for new and better ways to save water, many of which are included  in the recommendations that we’ll bring to Council for approval in July.”

Report highlights program improvements

Program and service changes from the Water Efficiency Strategy update report include:

  • Changing the Royal Flush rebate program to offer a $50 rebate on the replacement of 6-litre and up per flush volume toilets with a WaterSense®-model with a flush volume of 4.8 litres or less;
  • Discontinuing the Smart Wash rebate program as a result of changes in consumer behaviours;
  • Modifying the Blue Built Home program to allow any home that meets a minimum level of water savings to be certified and qualify for rebates (previously only applied to new builds);
  • Improving and rebranding the ICI Capacity Buyback program as the Water Smart Business Program to enable the City and businesses to achieve shared water efficiency goals by increasing incentives for businesses and identifying opportunities for refined metering in separate areas of operation;
  • Working more actively with the multi-residential property sector to offer water demand analysis to help detect leaks, and identify refined metering options to better track individual unit water use and inform needed upgrades and improvements;
  • Continuing the City’s commitment to lead by example with water efficient operations that include facility upgrades and showcasing water efficient technology such as the rainwater harvesting bus wash,
  • Continuing the implementation of district metered areas, which help identify and manage leaks and water losses in the City’s distribution system; and
  • Researching and piloting water efficient technology and resources such as water softeners that don’t use salt, collecting and providing access to hourly water data using automated water readings and assessing opportunities for municipal water reuse and recycling.

“As we updated the strategy we considered Guelph’s growing population, shifts and improvements in available water efficiency technology, and the lifespan of current programs”, noted Stahl. “Guelph residents currently use around 167 litres per person per day, which is much less than provincial and national averages. We’re looking to build on our success and reduce average day use to 157 litres per person in Guelph by 2038, and the updated programs and services in our report are designed to help us get there.”

Last chance for public input

The City plans to present the updated Water Efficiency Strategy to the Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise committee on July 5, if approved, it will go before Council on July 18.

The Water Efficiency Strategy update report can be viewed online at and comments can be submitted one of three ways until May 10, 2016:

  • by email to,
  • by phone to 519-822-1260 extension 3411, or
  • in written form to Water Services, 29 Waterworks Place, Guelph ON  N1E 6P7

Why water efficiency matters in Guelph

As a community that relies on limited groundwater resources to meet residential and business water needs, Guelph takes a proactive approach to water supply management. The City identified the need for the Water Efficiency Strategy update following an update to the Water Supply Master Plan in 2014.

The updated Master Plan identified water efficiency programs as a top priority for success in achieving the revised water use reduction target of 9,147 cubic metres per day by 2038, an amount equivalent to four Olympic-sized swimming pools every day. The Water Efficiency Strategy update defines the programs, policies and resources that will help Guelph meet its reduction targets while ensuring the City continues to offer effective programs that provide value for the community.

Since 2006, an investment of $10.2 million in water conservation and efficiency programs and resources has resulted in over $40 million in savings from deferred infrastructure projects and related operating costs that would otherwise have been needed to supply the Guelph community with drinking water. Water efficiency efforts by Guelph residents, businesses and the City itself have helped to reclaim over eight million litres of water per day—an amount equal to more than three Olympic-sized swimming pools full of water every day—despite a 12 per cent growth in population.

For more information

Emily Stahl, Supervisor Water Efficiency
Environmental Services, Water Services
519-822-1260 extension 3411