Water supply master plan

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The City is updating its 2014 Water Supply Master Plan (WSMP) to review our drinking water sources and identify priorities for our water supply, including where our drinking water will come from in the future.

The WSMP provides short-, mid- and long-term water supply options to ensure we can continue to meet the demands of Guelph’s growing population. We’ll investigate existing and new water supply options--including new groundwater and surface water sources in and outside of Guelph--and consider things like water quality and quantity, climate conditions and change, economic factors and relevant regulations.

When we’re done, we’ll have identified constraints and opportunities related to our existing drinking water supply. We’ll also have evaluated and prioritized individual projects to increase the capacity of our existing drinking water supply.

Your input is an important part of this process.

The City is updating its 2014 Water Supply Master Plan (WSMP) to review our drinking water sources and identify priorities for our water supply, including where our drinking water will come from in the future.

The WSMP provides short-, mid- and long-term water supply options to ensure we can continue to meet the demands of Guelph’s growing population. We’ll investigate existing and new water supply options--including new groundwater and surface water sources in and outside of Guelph--and consider things like water quality and quantity, climate conditions and change, economic factors and relevant regulations.

When we’re done, we’ll have identified constraints and opportunities related to our existing drinking water supply. We’ll also have evaluated and prioritized individual projects to increase the capacity of our existing drinking water supply.

Your input is an important part of this process.

Thank you for your interest in the Water Supply Master Plan. We invite you learn more by visiting the project page. We will aim to answer your question within five days. 

Q&A

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    Do you have plans on how to mitigate the hard water problem that has caused untold damage to the city's pipe network, and makes the water taste awful? Any plans to screen future water sources for their mineral levels or install a treatment system?

    Victoria Da Silva Asked 29 days ago

    Due to the geology of the City’s groundwater source, water supplied by the City is considered “hard”, as noted in your inquiry. The water hardness is caused by the concentration of naturally occurring calcium carbonate, which may form scale on plumbing, if private side conditioning of the water is not completed through a water softener or other device. In supplying water to customers the City of Guelph treats its drinking water in compliance with the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standard, which does not require mandatory treatment to remove water hardness. This treatment regime is common of municipal groundwater treated throughout Ontario, if not Canada, due to the significant capital and operating costs to build and operate such systems and significant financial impacts to customer user rates to fund such endeavours.

    To address aesthetic issues with water hardness, close to 90% of property owners in our community have elected to install, operate and maintain a water softener at their own expense with suitable results. Should your place of residence have a water softener already, you may want to engage a plumber to ensure its proper operation. Otherwise, if your place of residence does not have a water softener you might want to consider having this technology installed to address the taste issue you have noted in your correspondence.

    With respect to the noted damage to the City’s distribution network, we are not aware of this specific issue.

    Detailed field testing of potential future groundwater supply will include water sampling and laboratory analysis to determine the chemical characteristics of the water, including calcium carbonate concentration (hardness).   Future groundwater obtained from the main bedrock aquifer below the City will have similar hardness to the current water supplied by the City.  Due to the cost constraint outlined above, the City does not plan to treat current or future water supplies for hardness.

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    How have the projected future water demands been considered with the current and future capacity of the Guelph WWTP? Realistically, it seems unlikely that water reclamation efforts would be implemented fast and vastly enough to keep up with the growing water demand (and consequent increased wastewater production).

    M.R. Asked 7 months ago

    The Water Supply Master Plan is integrated with the Wastewater Master Plan through the water demand forecasts. The water demand forecasts are based on the number of people in Guelph by 2041 and how much water they will use during the same time period. 

    The water demand forecast is used in the Water Supply Master Plan to determine how much new water is needed and when it is needed in the future. Similarly, the water demand forecast is used as an input into the Wastewater Master Plan since most of the water demand ends up as wastewater. The Wastewater Master Plan then identifies alternatives to address the future wastewater treatment requirements as well as improvements and upgrades to ensure that there is existing wastewater treatment capacity when it is needed. 

    The Wastewater Master Plan will be updated in 2020, similarly to the Water Supply Master Plan. Interested persons should watch the City News for more information on the Wastewater Master Plan.