Be Water Wise…Understanding Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater in Your City


Vaughan is a rapidly growing and aging city and the water, wastewater and stormwater rates reflect the need to service new communities and maintain existing services and infrastructure. We do this to provide safe drinking water to our residents now and in the years to come.

WHY IS THE WATER BUDGET IMPORTANT?

The Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Budget determines how much residents pay for water use, and identifies the resources needed to operate and maintain the City’s water systems. It ensures we can provide safe drinking water, effectively collect wastewater and manage stormwater to mitigate flooding. It also makes sure we have adequate funds in our reserves. Our reserves are essentially a savings account so we can save money today to fix our pipes, hydrants and stations when we need it without going into debt – much like you would put aside money for major repairs to your home.

WHERE DOES WATER COME FROM?

As York Region does not border Lake Ontario, the Regional Government purchases the water we use from the Region of Peel and the City of Toronto.The water is purchased, treated and transported through an extensive system, and the costs of doing so are passed on to Vaughan. Our costs to purchase water from the Region are increasing because they too are looking at funding requirements for the long-term renewal and replacement of the system. The majority of the water and wastewater budget covers the cost of purchasing water and treatment of wastewater from the Region, and a small portion goes towards operational costs and contributions to our reserves.

Our reserves are essentially savings accounts where we put money today to fix our pipes, hydrants and stations when we need to without going into debt – much like you would put aside money for major repairs to your home. In the years following the Walkerton tragedy, the Province introduced more stringent regulations to ensure water systems meet appropriate standards and water is safe to drink. Municipalities across Ontario continue to work to keep up with investments in their water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure to comply with provincial regulations and save for the future.

York Region has created a series of helpful videos about how the water system works and reaches all municipalities across the Region. Click on the videos to learn more about York Region’s water system and the costs associated with maintaining water in all York Region cities.

Our water system is vast and complex. It takes hundreds of km of pipes, thousands of watts of electricity and hundreds of hours of manpower to get water to you.

In York Region, about 85 per cent of our water comes from Lake Ontario, three per cent from Lake Simcoe and 12 per cent from groundwater: It’s treated before it’s delivered to you through a vast and complex system.

When water comes out of your tap, it’s clean and fresh. But how does it get to our homes and offices 24 hours a day? And where does it go once you flush?

How exactly does York Region treat our water it to ensure it’s safe to drink? The water treatment process has three stages – screening, filtration and disinfection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNDERSTANDING IT ALL…

There are two types of water charges on your bill:

1.) Water and Wastewater -these are combined and billed according to how much you use.

Water is what comes out of your taps both inside and outside for your home. Examples: what you drink and use for cooking, what you use to water your lawn, what you use to shower and wash your clothes.

Wastewater is what goes down the drain after you use it. Examples: flushing the toilet, what goes down the drain after you shower or wash your dishes.

2.) Stormwater – this is billed as a flat fee based on how much run-off your property type has. This is the water that falls from the sky. Examples: rain, snow

WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?

This year, the average household will pay an additional $1.29 per month for water and wastewater. The average household uses 267 cubic metres of water per year. One cubic metre equals 1,000 litres of water or 2,000 500-millilitre bottles of water. That means residents pay $3.78 for the amount of water that is in 2,000 bottles. On the water bill, there is also a flat stormwater charge that is applied once annually and based on the type of property you own. A detached home, for example, will pay $50 in 2017. The stormwater fee used to be incorporated as part of the property tax bill, but as of 2017 this fee is being removed from the property tax bill and will show as a stand alone fee on your water bill once per year. In 2017, this fee will be charged in June.

HELPFUL HINTS

To help save some water and money, try these water wise tips:
  • Limit showers to five minutes (long hot showers can waste 10 to 20 litres of water every extra minute)
  • Turn the tap off while you brush your teeth
  • Fill the sink rather than letting the water run while shaving, washing vegetables or cleaning dishes by hand
  • Run your dishwasher and washing machine only with a full load to save up to 3,000 litres of water a month
  • Only water your lawn or garden when needed (depending on the weather or type of plants/turf, you may only need to water once or twice per week)
  • Use a rain barrel to collect rainwater that can be used for watering gardens
  • Sweep your driveway instead of washing it
  • Check for outdoor leaks in pipes, hoses and faucets (leaks outside the home can be just as wasteful and costly as leaks inside the home)
  • For more tips, visit vaughan.ca/water.
Click here for more information on the Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater Budget. Residents can also contact the Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater division of the Financial Services Department at 905-832-2281.