Guelph City Council voted to adopt the policy recommendations of Water Conservation and Efficiency Strategy Update at last night’s Council meeting.
The policy recommendations include formally endorsing the three water reduction goals of the City’s Water Supply Master Plan, the formation of a Water Conservation and Efficiency Advisory Committee to provide ongoing public consultation throughout strategy implementation, and an enhanced public education program.
Residents, multi-residential building owners, businesses and developers can expect to see a number of new and enhanced rebate programs to encourage further water reduction. Rebates for the installation of water-efficient toilets, washing machines, humidifiers, outdoor water timers, rain barrels, as well as grey water reuse systems, and rainwater harvesting systems are some of the rebate programs recommended in the strategy.
The goal of the Strategy Update was to identify preferred program, policy and resource alternatives to best meet the water reduction goals identified in the Guelph Water Supply Master Plan, Community Energy Plan and Council Strategic Plan. The WCESU also identifies preferred program implementation forecasts, program support staff, and maintenance based resources required to meet and sustain the water reduction goals.
Since the completion of the 2006 WSMP, the City has achieved a 7.7 per cent reduction in daily water use. Implementation of the new conservation strategy is expected to save an additional 8.7 million litres of water per day by 2019 and will cost just over $20 million. The total combined water savings accounts for a 19.7 per cent reduction based on the 2006 average day water use of 53 million litres.
Water conservation is the most cost-effective and immediate source of new water supply and wastewater treatment capacity. It is anticipated that water savings to be gained through the new conservation strategy will allow for the possible deferral of future water supply and wastewater treatment infrastructure needs. Guelph’s water and wastewater master planning studies estimate that construction of equivalent water and wastewater infrastructure to deliver 8.7 million litres of water per day would cost approximately $44 million.