Council approves updated Water Efficiency Strategy

Changes will make saving water easier

Guelph, Ont., September 27, 2016—Last night Council unanimously approved the updated Water Efficiency Strategy presented by City staff at the September 6 Committee of the Whole meeting.

“We are excited to move ahead with this updated strategy,” remarked Emily Stahl, acting manager of technical services for the City’s Water Services department. “Our community told us they want to do more to save water at home. The additions and improvements in the updated Water Efficiency Strategy offer fresh opportunities to take business and at-home water conservation efforts to the next level, and allow more of our community to participate.”

Report highlights program improvements

Program and service changes from the Water Efficiency Strategy 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 of December 31, 2016 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 homes);
  • 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 and identifying opportunities for businesses to improve water management in their operations;
  • Working more actively with the multi-residential property sector to offer water demand analysis to help detect leaks, and better track individual unit water use to 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 at the City’s Transit bus wash facility,
  • 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.

“Guelph is a leader in water conservation and that success is due to our community’s participation in our conservation programs over the last ten years,” noted Stahl. “Efforts by Guelph residents, businesses and the City  have helped our community reclaim over eight million litres of water capacity per day—that’s equal to more than three Olympic-sized swimming pools full of water every day. These water savings result in significant cost savings for the City and our customers.”

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 the City would otherwise have needed to build to supply the Guelph community with drinking water.

About the Water Efficiency Strategy update

The Water Efficiency Strategy update began in April 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.

Over the next 10 years the City has budgeted $13 million for water conservation and efficiency programs, including outreach and education, for an expected future costs savings of $29 million.

The report on the Water Efficiency Strategy update can be viewed online at

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.

For more information

Emily Stahl, Acting Manager, Technical Services
Environmental Services, Water Services
519-822-1260 extension 3411