Regional Municipality of Peel
Water Efficiency Plan
Increasing demand on its water supply and wastewater treatment systems led the Regional Municipality of Peel to develop a Water Efficiency Plan (WEP) that is expected, by 2015, to reduce daily and peak demand for water by up to 10 per cent and wastewater flows by up to seven per cent. Key programs under the WEP include rebates for water-saving products, a system leak detection program, and an indoor and outdoor audit program. By September 2007, reduced demand for water and wastewater treatment had saved approximately 3,000 megalitres of water and 2,000 megawatt hours of electricity - the equivalent of 671 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Reduced demand into the future is expected to achieve approximately $10.4 million in avoided capital costs that could be spent to expand the water and wastewater treatment systems.
The Regional Municipality of Peel encompasses the cities of Brampton and Mississauga, and the town of Caledon. It is Ontario's second-largest municipality (after Toronto), and it has projected a 23 per cent population increase by the year 2015. This growth would be expected to place additional pressure on an already growing demand for water distribution and wastewater collection and treatment systems.
The WEP, whose intent is to maintain supply and quality standards in Peel without infrastructure expansion, will be rolled out over 12 years at a cost of $33 million — less than one-third of the projected cost of expansion. The WEP programs are complemented by constant checking for best management practices and alignment with the region's strategic plan for protecting and restoring the environment and managing the effects of growth.
The main goals of the WEP are to:
- reduce capital costs for new water distribution and wastewater facilities over the long term;
- significantly decrease water demand by reducing (and sustaining over the long term) average annual day and peak day demands by eight to 10 per cent; and
- develop a flexible plan that can be adjusted as required to achieve maximum water savings and reduction of wastewater flows.
- By September 2007, approximately 3,000 megalitres of water had been saved - divided between approximately 1,600 megalitres of water supply and 1,400 megalitres of wastewater treatment avoided. The bottom line for the region was an $800,000 savings in water supply and wastewater treatment costs.
- Related CO2 emissions were reduced by the equivalent of 671 tonnes.
- Through communication and outreach, residents of Peel became more aware of the need for, benefits of, and opportunities to reduce the amount of water they consume, leading to decreased residential water use and lower utility bills for water savers.
- Demand reduction is expected to save $3.1 million in potential future water treatment system expansion and $7.3 million in future wastewater treatment system expansion.
- GET STAKEHOLDER SUPPORT BEFORE STARTING THE PROGRAM. Having regional council on side from the onset was important. "The buy-in from the top and the subsequent directions from council were key to starting and maintaining the WEP. Strong support externally and internally, senior management support, and political support are key to achieving and sustaining a permanent reduction in water levels," says Johann Manente, the Regional Municipality of Peel's manager of public education programs and services.
- CALCULATE THE COST-BENEFIT RATIOS FOR EACH PRACTICE OR MEASURE CONSIDERED. Manente notes that "all programs are subject to rigorous cost-benefit analysis, and only the best are implemented."
- USE A PHASED IMPLEMENTATION APPROACH. Pilot the new programs and take advantage of new technologies and best practices as they emerge. Start with simpler measures to enjoy early successes. "Create a 'living document' that allows for flexibility over time", says Manente, "so that modifications can be made or new programs added as required." One example of this approach in Peel was the pre-rinse spray valve program for restaurants. "This is an initiative not outlined in the original development of the WEP, but with new technologies and findings, [it] was considered and implemented."
- ENLIST COMMUNITY SUPPORT. "Good communications with stakeholders and the community is vital to the success of the program," says Manente. Educate the community on wise water use, promote incentive programs, share and celebrate success, and listen to community needs and perceptions. In Peel, specific messages were crafted for each targeted sector.
- LEARN FROM RELATED ISSUES AS THEY ARISE. As the municipality's WEP was being rolled out, energy efficiency issues came to the forefront, highlighting the relationship between water consumption and energy use. As a result, the municipality recently began to emphasize an awareness of this connection by reporting annually not only on water savings, but also on energy and greenhouse gas emission reductions.
Partners and Collaboration
- City of Toronto
- Regional Municipality of Halton
- Regional Municipality of Durham
- Regional Municipality of York
- Regional Municipality of Waterloo
- Peel Regional Council and senior management and staff
- Canadian Water and Wastewater Association
- Ontario Water Works Association
- Ontario Ministry of the Environment
- Plumbing associations
- Toilet manufacturers
- Landscapers and garden centres
- Municipal boards of trade
- Residents and businesses of Peel Region
- Condominium corporations
- Community agencies
- Conservation authorities