Brilliantly Invisible.

We know water is important to you, your family, your health and all life. At York Region, there is an intricate system designed to ensure that our communities have safe, reliable, clean drinking water. We also treat, monitor and clean that water to be reused and returned to the sources it came from.

Dive in and get to know your water better.

It all starts with a plan.

You expect to live, work and play in healthy, complete communities. The York Region Water and Wastewater Master Plan Update identifies long-term strategies, programs and infrastructure projects to meet your water servicing needs to 2041 and beyond. It speaks to how water is managed; updating it every five years ensures the plan stays current while preparing us for the changing needs of the future.

Master Plans are big, and we can't create them alone. Get to know your Regional Water and Wastewater Master Plan, see the display boards and comment on our 2021 opportunity statement.

Did you know?

Our community is expected to grow to 1.79 million people and 900,000 jobs by 2041.

Master planning ensures servicing demands are thoughtfully considered, building on strong social, environmental and financial principals. It's why you matter in this process and why we want to bring you on the journey with us.

We seek to better understand your perspective on our water and wastewater systems. Over the next two years, there will be opportunities to give feedback three times:

These are the factors which drive master planning activities. At the end of the presentation, let us know your thoughts on the statement below.

Building on previous Master Plan recommendations, York Region is updating its long-term water and wastewater servicing strategies and infrastructure program to accommodate 1.79 million people and 900,000 jobs, in accordance with the growth plan in an environmentally, socially and fiscally responsible manner.

Did you know? York Region is the only large municipality in the Greater Toronto Area that does not have direct access to Lake Ontario.

Drinking water sources map for York Region's cities and towns

Is your water from the lake? From a well?

Each city or town is a little different. Depending on where you live, your drinking water system and supply is different. So are the unique challenges of each community.

Where does your water come from? Where does it go? Our water system is complex and brilliantly invisible. We know water is important to you for your daily life. Turn on your tap and it's reliably there. Flush it away, and it's gone. But think about it.... There is so much more happening behind the scenes!

Did you know we have 15 drinking water systems in York Region? We report on each one annually and publish water quality data in a handy dashboard. You can view them online at york.ca/drinkingwater.

Your drinking water is safe.

We rigorously test all drinking water systems about 46 times a day. We monitor 24/7 to ensure safe and consistent delivery of clean water to your taps. In fact, York Region was given a compliance rating of 99.99% according to regulatory audits in 2018.

York Region’s tap water is monitored around the clock to ensure it meets Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards, which identify more than 100 criteria for safe consumption limits, proven on the basis of medical research. These criteria are revised frequently by the Province to reflect new scientific findings or concerns.

Check out these videos which explain where your water comes from and how it is treated to make it safe for drinking.

We all play an important role in protecting our drinking water sources to ensure they remain safe for us today, tomorrow and for the future. How mindful are you when using water? What about water use on your property? Did you know that there are 40 wells that provide drinking water to homes and businesses in York Region?

It is really important to know if your home or business is in a protected zone around drinking water supply wells (groundwater). We work closely with people in these areas to educate and make a plan to ensure continued protection of drinking water wells. Things like fuel, salt, septic systems or fertilizer can affect the wells, so it's important to understand what the threats are and how to prevent contamination.

Check york.ca/protectingwater to see if your home, farm, business or land development project is located in or near a vulnerable area.

Your water has quite the journey.

It takes enormous amounts of energy to treat and pump water all the way to your home. Most people don’t even realize what’s happening beneath their feet. Did you know there are 360 kilometers of pipes and infrastructure delivering water to your home?

The York Region water system is massive, integrated and fascinating. Yet, it is rarely seen. Look how big this pipe is!

Being mindful of your water use helps the system in many ways.

Take what you - need - what you take. Small choices every day can impact your water in a big way!

In your busy life, there are things you can do to help save drinking water.

Inside your home, you can:

  • Make sure your dishwasher and washing machine are FULL before running
  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth
  • Consider installing low flow toilets and taps
  • Keep a pitcher of water in fridge rather than running tap multiple times
  • Check for leaks

Outdoor water use peaks during the summer which can strain drinking water supplies and water needed for firefighting. Outside your home, you can:

  • Respect local water use bylaws
  • Contact a Water Smart Irrigation Professional (WSIP) for advice
  • Choose the right plant for the right place - look into Fusion Gardening trends
  • Use a rain barrel to help water lawns and gardens
  • Cover your pool to limit evaporation
  • Visit a commercial car wash versus washing your car by hand
  • Ensure your home's downspout is properly installed to prevent rainwater from entering the sewer system

Get a behind the scenes look at how your water dollars are invested in York Region.

What water saving tips do you have that others could learn from? Tell us at the end of the presentation, we'd love to hear them!

Did you know sewer monsters exist? Fatbergs and Fog-clogs are real, and are happening right under your feet! When inappropriate items get flushed down the drain, they mesh together and create scary creatures that plug up pipes and cause costly backups and maintenance hazards.

Personal care products, wipes, fats, oils and grease (FOG) are just some of the many things that do not belong down your drain.

Actual fatberg removed by a wastewater operators in Sutton, Ontario. Talk about dirty jobs!

Your toilet is not a garbage can. Just because the packaging says it can be flushed, doesn't mean you should. Also, proper disposal of unused medicines and vitamins means dropping them off at your local pharmacy for safe disposal, never flushing down your drain.

Why is all of this important?

Because it’s all one water, our water. What we use and how we use it, gets returned and eventually comes back to us. It’s like karma; the circle of life. It’s not just from kids movies, it’s the reality of our water cycle, and we can’t live without it.

So, how can York Region sustainably meet the water needs now and in the future? By taking a One Water approach to how we manage water. It’s a framework that reduces the burden on water sources and infrastructure. One Water encourages greater conservation and the use of natural processes to manage water. It also finds valuable new sources of water in rainfall, snow melt and the safe reuse of treated wastewater.

In the future, recycled water can be used for cool things like sod irrigation. The State of California uses treated wastewater in many innovative ways. York Region is learning from them as we test new uses for treated wastewater.

Did you know you probably are already eating fruits and vegetables that have been irrigated with reclaimed water – especially if you eat fruits or vegetables like lettuce or strawberries in the winter?

Did you know there are several golf courses in York Region that water their courses with recycled water from their private systems?

Right Water for the Right Use

Did you know York Region is involved with many water-related research studies? Working together with industry experts, universities, agencies, provincial and federal governments, these studies help to evolve technical knowledge, operations and advocate changes to legislation based on sound science.

Here are examples of various ways treated wastewater can be used in a one water framework:

  • Irrigation – turf farm, golf course, non-food crop
  • Commercial – landscaping, toilet flushing
  • Industrial – process cooling, cleaning
  • Residential – landscaping

Our system today is the product of 45 years of planning and implementation.

Whether you realize it or not, you are part of this system.

Your choices impact not just yourself or your family, but your community. Maybe the time is right to get to know your water better.

Get involved, stay informed as we discover, explore and reveal our plans for your water future.

Thank you.

We appreciate you taking the time to learn about your water system. We invite you to let us know your thoughts about your experience by answering a few questions.