The City of Guelph, Ontario made two big announcements yesterday.

Firstly, the City has identified vulnerable local water supply source areas in need of protection, called wellhead protection areas and intake protection zones, in compliance with the provincial Clean Water Act. All Ontario cities, including Guelph, are required by the Act to define and map vulnerable areas around water supply sources—either a supply well, or surface water intake area—that could be affected by potential threats. These areas require extra care in order to protect water quality. Potential threats, including common commercial and residential activities that take place on properties in these vulnerable areas, are currently being evaluated and will be ranked according to criteria developed by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE).

Once finalized, the City’s Groundwater Vulnerability Assessment, Surface Water Vulnerability Assessment and Drinking Water Threats Assessment will be compiled with assessments by other municipalities in the Grand River Watershed, and used to develop the Grand River Watershed Source Protection Plan. The Plan, as required by the Clean Water Act, will outline protective measures so the identified potential threats do not impact the quality of each municipality’s groundwater.

The MOE funds water source protection investigations and has recently committed an additional $80,000 to Guelph for public education geared to home, business and rural land owners.

Click here to access today’s Community Development and Environmental Services Committee report for more information and maps of the vulnerable areas.

Secondly, the City is now offering residents rebates for installing water efficient furnace-mounted humidifiers and waterless floor drain trap devices in their homes. Water efficient furnace-mounted humidifiers can save up to 128 litres of water per day during the heating season, compared with inefficient older models. The Home Humidifier Rebate Program provides rebates of $30 and $70 for the installation of furnace-mounted humidifiers that send 50 litres and less of water per day down the drain.

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The Floor Drain Retrofit Rebate Program offers rebates of $60 for replacing automatic floor drain priming devices with City of Guelph approved waterless floor drain trap devices. Automatic floor drain priming devices can stop working, and when combined with a leaking laundry faucet can send volumes of drinking water down the floor drain.

The Floor Drain Retrofit Rebate Program and Home Humidifier Rebate Program were recommended programs identified in the City’s Water Conservation and Efficiency Strategy Update to help the City achieve its water use reduction targets. The City aims to reduce Guelph’s water use by 8.7 million litres of water per day by 2019.

More about Guelph’s water efficiency initiatives to come in the May/June 2010 issue of Water Canada.

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