Plans focus on reliability, sustainability and resiliency

Guelph, ON – Council has approved the Water Supply and the Wastewater Treatment and Biosolids Management master plans, both of which relied heavily on community engagement to inform staff’s recommendations.

The City of Guelph is committed to protecting the environment including our water resources. Engagement with the community and Indigenous Nations identified high value on water supply protection, support for the City’s water conservation and efficiency programs, protection of the natural environment, managing growth and development, and controlling impacts both from large water users and on other water users.

Ongoing efforts pay off with two prestigious awards

Each year the Ontario Water Works Association (OWWA) honours its members through various achievement awards for their hard work and dedication to the water profession. For the 2021 season, the City earned an Award of Excellence in Water Efficiency for the Water Loss Management Strategy that was developed as part of the Water Supply Master Plan update.

In addition, the City and AECOM Ltd. were recently recognized for the Water Supply Master Plan with a Water Canada 2022 Water’s Next Award in the water resources category. Water Canada bestows awards annually as part of the Canadian Water Summit to individuals, projects and technologies that contribute significantly to the water industry in Canada and beyond.

Water Supply Master Plan focuses on establishing a sustainable water supply to regulate future growth

The 2021 Water Supply Master Plan (WSMP) forecasts enough water supply within and surrounding Guelph to support growth to 2051. While the City is currently using about 60 per cent of its current water capacity, the existing water system will fall short of maximum day demands projected for 2051. The WSMP identifies projects and programs to address this shortfall.

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The City has not exhausted its water supply and is not looking for new wells in neighbouring municipalities or townships at this time. Throughout the community engagement process, several alternatives for water supply were explored, and pursuing new water supply inside the city’s boundaries emerged as a priority.

As always, staff will continue to manage water demands and support water conservation and efficiency efforts in the community and in City operations. The approved WSMP directs staff to further investigate and implement innovative solutions to deliver the water needed by the community in a safe, sustainable and cost-effective manner while protecting the environment, including continued evaluation and implementation of water supply alternatives such as:

  • new or emerging opportunities for water conservation, efficiency and demand management
  • exploring groundwater sources in the priority of :
    • groundwater inside the city
    • groundwater sources outside of Guelph
    • utilizing local surface water if needed in the future

The plan also identifies work to:

  • continue investing in hydraulic model maintenance and enhancement to support groundwater and building upon the City’s current environmental monitoring programs;
  • continue well-established source protection efforts; and
  • continue working with surrounding townships, the County, Indigenous Nations and other local groups in the protection and management of local resources.

Waterway and environmental protection key priorities of Wastewater Treatment and Biosolids Management Master Plan

To be future ready and meet the demands of Guelph’s growing population now and through to 2051, the Wastewater Treatment and Biosolids Management Master Plan ensures wastewater (everything flushed down your sinks, drains and toilets) is managed in a way that is sustainable and protects the environment including local rivers, wetlands and other waterways.

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Based on community engagement, and Council’s approval, staff will work to:

  • maximize the use of buildings, treatment processes and other infrastructure
  • use sustainable new technologies and processes to mitigate climate change impacts including:
    • continue to use and potentially expand on-site energy production to save energy costs and reduce the carbon footprint
    • improve filtration to increase capacity in the third stage of the wastewater treatment process
    • ensure regulated discharge limits into the Speed River are safe and sustainable based on technical data collected both upstream and downstream of the treatment facility

Wastewater treatment and management location well-suited for needs

The location of the City’s Water Resource Recovery Centre at 530 Wellington Road West (formerly the Wastewater Treatment Centre) remains the best location for wastewater treatment in Guelph.

Projecting costs as our community grows

While both water-related master plans include anticipated costs of serving a growing community and improving services to foster sustainability, approval of the plans and the recommendations in them is not an approval of the needed budget to accomplish the work. These plans set service levels and identify priorities over several years. Specific project funding from all the City’s plans is identified and approved through the City’s multi-year budget process based on priority and considering affordability.

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