Bolton Regional Councillor Good to Know

Project Update: Peel Water Efficiency Strategy


Background:

The Region of Peel’s 2013 Water Efficiency Strategy (WES) aims to:

1. Reduce peak day water demands;
2. Meet legislative requirements and goals for water efficiency;
3. Keep Regional residential per capita water demands in line with other leading GTA municipalities;
4. Help business customers manage their water demands more effectively; and,
5. Manage system water loss.

To meet these objectives, a number of water efficiency measures and environmental education and outreach initiatives are undertaken.

Current Water Efficiency Measures:

In 2013, seven water efficiency measures including the Residential and Business Toilet Replacement Programs, Humidifier Rebate Program, Fusion Landscape Consultation Program, ICI Indoor Water Audits, ICI Outdoor Water Audits, and Residential Irrigation Audit Program contributed to the objectives and goals of the Water Efficiency Strategy. Each measure is described briefly below.

• The Residential Toilet Replacement Program provided eligible residents with $25 rebates for the purchase of Peel Approved, high efficiency, toilets. Because of changes in technology and in the marketplace, the Residential Toilet Replacement Program was discontinued on September 1st 2013. All eligible rebate applications for toilets purchased before September 1st, 2013 were accepted until December 1, 2013. The Toilet Replacement Program for Businesses was also discontinued on September 1st, 2013.

• The Humidifier Rebate Program was also discontinued on September 1st, 2013. All eligible rebate applications were accepted until December 31st, 2013.

• Fusion Landscape Consultations focus on promoting eco-friendly gardening techniques and integrating residents’ unique visions of their landscapes with water efficient designs. To monitor the impacts of Fusion Landscaping on sustainable residential landscape design and outdoor water use, a long term study in the Clarkson neighbourhood of Mississauga began in 2009. A long term monitoring program has been established for the pilot area to measure sustainability of this program.

• The Residential Irrigation Audit Program targets potential peak day reduction at large residential properties due to improper irrigation system scheduling and inefficient system configuration. Based on a successful pilot year in 2012, the program was expanded in 2013.

• The ICI Indoor Water Audit Program provides eligible facilities with an audit and report detailing potential water savings, estimate rebates, and approximate return on investment.

• The ICI Outdoor Water Audit Program identifies peak day water savings that may be achieved at large ICI properties through proper irrigation system scheduling and system upgrades.

Program Research and Development:

To ensure that WES measures remain current and relevant, the success of existing programs is continuously measured and evaluated to ensure that programs and services implemented remain effective, relevant and evidence-based. New initiatives are also developed based on research and identification of market needs. In 2013, a need for greater irrigation contractor knowledge about the role of water efficiency in irrigation systems was identified. As a result, the Water Smart Irrigation Professional (WSIP) program was developed.

• The Water Smart Irrigation Professional (WSIP) Program was developed in partnership with Landscape Ontario and York Region to provide irrigation companies with training and certification to provide water smart irrigation system efficiency and maintenance services. This partnership benefits local businesses by providing the irrigation industry with enhanced training and knowledge, while supporting environmental protection and sustainable water use. The pilot year of irrigation contractor training and certification began in 2014.

Education and Outreach Initiatives:

Success in meeting the objectives of the WES depends largely on the participation by residents and other stakeholders. Effective education and outreach programs and marketing strategies that raise awareness of the importance of water conservation and resonate with target audiences are critical to the Strategy’s success.

Education and outreach initiatives not only create awareness of Peel’s water, wastewater, and water efficiency programs and services, they are also a valuable tool to raise public awareness of environmental issues and establish desired behavioral changes. The Environmental Education group supports and complements the WES by continuing to foster environmental stewardship in Peel, and by building capacity within the community to empower residents and businesses to make positive changes.

Education and outreach initiatives undertaken in 2013 included:

• The Peel Water Story: includes three components – an interactive multimedia curriculum resource, in-class presentations, and bus tour.
• Water and Wastewater Facility Tours: offered to middle and secondary school students, adult education groups and professional organizations.
• Peel Children’s Water Festival: an environmental education event providing learning opportunities to elementary school students through more than 50 practical and interactive activities.
• Community Events: Environmental Education currently participates in a number of special events ranging from Councilor forums to home shows and fall fairs. At these events, staff highlight water conservation programs and other Regional services to Peel residents.

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About the author

Patti Foley

Having spent 25 years in Bolton, Patti remains an advocate for Caledon. As a former Regional Councillor and a long-time community volunteer she is passionate about communicating information about its issues, news, events, people, non-profits and businesses.

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