Water supply master plan

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The City has updated its 2014 Water Supply Master Plan (the Master Plan) to review our drinking water sources and identify priorities for our water supply, including sustainable municipal water supply options, from now until 2051.

The Master Plan provides short-, mid- and long-term water supply options to ensure we can continue to meet the demands of Guelph’s growing population. Existing and new water supply options were investigated --including new groundwater and surface water sources in and outside of Guelph. Through analysis and evaluation of alternative projects, and input from the public, Indigenous Peoples, a Community Liaison Group, and agency and municipality consultation, the recommended preferred water supply alternatives were selected and refined, and next steps were identified for how the City may proceed with future water supply projects.

What we’ve heard so far
Over the course of the project, two public open houses were hosted to discuss and gather feedback on the Water Supply Master Plan update. The first took place in February of 2020 and focused on determining the criteria for selecting the alternatives. The second took place in September 2021 and focused on evaluating the preliminary alternatives to identify the best solutions to move forward. Communications regarding the status of the project were also available on the project website, and progress updates were provided through agency and municipality meetings, and community liaison group meetings.

Questions, comments and feedback from the sessions, along with responses to the online surveys were compiled in the phase 1 engagement results, and phase 2 engagement results.

What’s next?

The full draft Master Plan update is being placed on public record for a 90-day review period in accordance with the requirements of the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment process. This period began on January 10, 2022. Please provide all written comments by April 10, 2022 (within 90 days of the Notice of Completion being issued).

View the Water Supply Master Plan Update Draft Final Report - Executive Summary
View the Water Supply Master Plan Update Draft Final Report - Full Report

Please submit your comments and questions to the Project Team members listed under the “Who’s Listening” section.

A hard copy is available for reference at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. All comments will become part of the public record of the Master Plan update with the exception of personal information.

Visit the Water Supply Master Plan project page for updates.


The City has updated its 2014 Water Supply Master Plan (the Master Plan) to review our drinking water sources and identify priorities for our water supply, including sustainable municipal water supply options, from now until 2051.

The Master Plan provides short-, mid- and long-term water supply options to ensure we can continue to meet the demands of Guelph’s growing population. Existing and new water supply options were investigated --including new groundwater and surface water sources in and outside of Guelph. Through analysis and evaluation of alternative projects, and input from the public, Indigenous Peoples, a Community Liaison Group, and agency and municipality consultation, the recommended preferred water supply alternatives were selected and refined, and next steps were identified for how the City may proceed with future water supply projects.

What we’ve heard so far
Over the course of the project, two public open houses were hosted to discuss and gather feedback on the Water Supply Master Plan update. The first took place in February of 2020 and focused on determining the criteria for selecting the alternatives. The second took place in September 2021 and focused on evaluating the preliminary alternatives to identify the best solutions to move forward. Communications regarding the status of the project were also available on the project website, and progress updates were provided through agency and municipality meetings, and community liaison group meetings.

Questions, comments and feedback from the sessions, along with responses to the online surveys were compiled in the phase 1 engagement results, and phase 2 engagement results.

What’s next?

The full draft Master Plan update is being placed on public record for a 90-day review period in accordance with the requirements of the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment process. This period began on January 10, 2022. Please provide all written comments by April 10, 2022 (within 90 days of the Notice of Completion being issued).

View the Water Supply Master Plan Update Draft Final Report - Executive Summary
View the Water Supply Master Plan Update Draft Final Report - Full Report

Please submit your comments and questions to the Project Team members listed under the “Who’s Listening” section.

A hard copy is available for reference at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. All comments will become part of the public record of the Master Plan update with the exception of personal information.

Visit the Water Supply Master Plan project page for updates.


Q&A

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. 

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    I just found out that the city will be allowing additional dwellings be built in Guelph residents backyards. Why wasn't every Guelph resident Sent paperwork informing them of the new bylaw and asking them to fill out the survey. How can the city know the true opinions of Guelph homeowners when most of the homeowners were unaware of any survey offered?

    Tina Pellegrino asked 10 months ago

    Hello Tina, 

    Notice of the zoning bylaw amendment for additional residential dwelling units was provided in the Guelph Mercury Tribune newspaper and online on GuelphToday prior to the public meeting and again before the decision meeting of Council. The survey to collect public comments on the proposed amendment was available on the City’s online engagement platform (haveyoursay.guelph.ca) and promoted and communicated about through gueph.ca, the monthly Engagement HQ newsletter, newspaper ads, the City’s Facebook page and Twitter account (including paid ads on these two platforms and Instagram), and via notices to all the neighbourhood groups and project stakeholders. 

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    Can you explain the reasoning for using demand forecasts of the Guelph population by 2041? The design period for municipal distribution systems is 40 years (section B.2.2.4 of the Region of Waterloo and Area Municipalities Design Guidelines and Supplemental Specifications for Municipal Services). While water supply and water distribution are separate entities, a disconnect of 19 years in design considerations for these closely related entities seems likely to result in large margins of error.

    M.R. asked almost 2 years ago

    Initially, the Water Supply Master Plan (WSMP) update project included the evaluation of water supply demands to 2041. In August 2020, the Province of Ontario released Amendment 1 to A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe that extended the planning horizon in the Plan from 2041 to 2051. The WSMP update will adopt this change and consider growth and associated water supply requirements to 2051. 

     With respect to your question about planning the water distribution system within the City, this topic is not within the scope of the WSMP update project.  We referred your question to the Water and Wastewater Servicing Master Plan project team and they have provided the response provided below.  For any further questions related to water distribution in the City, we encourage you to contact the project team directly (arun.hindupur@guelph.ca or sam.ziemann@c3water.com)

    The primary purpose and benefit of creating a common set of design guidelines and contract specifications such as those referenced is to facilitate the design and construction of municipal services by consultants and contractors that work in more than one municipality to reduce the cost of infrastructure. These design guidelines are updated from time to time based on various factors such as technological advancement within the industry.

     Municipalities are required to plan for population and employment growth to a certain time horizon as per provincial legislation (https://www.ontario.ca/page/growth-planning-ontario). This is more of an infrastructure planning context as opposed to infrastructure design or construction context. Typically infrastructure is designed within 5 years of its construction date and whatever the applicable design standards are available at that time would be used to inform that design.  Infrastructure that will be built in 2031, 2041 or 2051 will utilize the best available design standards at that time. Overall sizing for this infrastructure will be determined through the master plan process which is typically updated every 10 years or so, but specific design considerations are dealt with through a detailed design process closer to the actual construction/implementation of the infrastructure/capital improvements.


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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?

    Junkmail asked almost 2 years 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 over 2 years 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. 

Page last updated: 10 Feb 2022, 08:14 AM