The City of Cornwall is creating a Water Conservation and Servicing Master Plan. 

The purpose of the Water Conservation and Servicing Master Plan is to develop a water conservation program.  This will include the assessment of alternative methods to charge residents for water and wastewater services and water conservation programs.  The Water Conservation and Servicing Master Plan will outline the benefits of water conservation. The plan will also make recommendations on how to promote water conservation across the City.  The costs and benefits of installing water meters will also be assessed. 

The Water Conservation and Servicing Master Plan is being developed as the City does not currently have a water conservation program.  This was identified by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks.  The Master Plan will also help with the City’s priority to “be leaders in sustainability and climate change”, and to realize other potential cost saving benefits. 

The Master Plan will include alternative water and wastewater rates and a financial plan that will provide a sustainable revenue source for the City. In doing so, the objectives of the Master Plan include:

  • Community outreach to increase awareness and gain public support for water conservation;
  • Development of volume-based metered water and wastewater rates to provide a sustainable revenue source;
  • Recommendations on request for proposals and tenders etc.;
  • Development of a draft water conservation incentive and rebate plan; and
  • Consultation with the public on alternative water and wastewater billing rates and water conservation incentive and rebate plans.

Water and Wastewater Bill Calculator

How might your annual water and wastewater bill change with the installation of water meters and the use of metered rates?

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Have your say!

As part of the Master Plan, the City engaged with the general public and targeted stakeholders to:

  • Provide information on the issues and study process;
  • Seek feedback on potential solutions and opportunities;
  • Involve stakeholders in the development of recommendations; and
  • Provide feedback to participants on what the City heard and how the input was used to make final recommendations to Council.

Public and stakeholder consultation is important to develop a plan that reflects the diverse views and opinions of the community. 

Here's what we heard! These documents were presented to Council on September 21, 2021.

Master Plan Final Report

Master Plan Council Presentation

Recommendation to Council


Water Meters

The City of Cornwall is considering installing smart water meters throughout the homes and businesses in Cornwall.  If approved by City Council, the installed smart water meters would look like those in the picture below.  The meters would typically be installed in your basement or where the water line enters your home.  The installations would be done by licensed professionals and crafts people to ensure that your home looks great.

 Benefits to property owners

The smart water meter system includes options for you to monitor how much water is being used on a daily basis.  You can monitor water usage through an online portal.  You can also be notified of water usage that is different from your typical usage.  The notices could be set up as emails or text message notifications.  The most common notification for increased water usage would be to tell you that you used water all night while you were sleeping.  Why?  Well, usually the reason is the toilet handle needed to be jiggled to stop the toilet from running and you didn’t notice.  Get a text or email notification, jiggle the toilet handle and you’re back to normal.  This is a simple way to save water!

Installing water meters across the City will also allow the City to charge water and wastewater rates that are based on the amount of water consumed.  This type of rate structure allows you to be billed more fairly for the water you use.   It also gives you control over the amount of your water bill, based on your water usage behavior.

 Benefits to the City

The installation of smart water meters will also allow the City to improve their ability to find leaks in the water pipes under the ground.  Finding and repairing these leaks as quickly as possible, provides operating cost savings that are ultimately passed on to you the customer and rate payer.  The early detection of leaks in the system saves money by reducing the amount of water that must be produced.  In addition, the cost of repairing leaks soon after they occur are typically less expensive than doing so when the problem persists over time leading to greater damage and repair costs.

Water meter readings will be sent automatically to the water accounts department using wireless technology like sending a text message.  All the readings from the smart water meters in homes and businesses and other smart meters installed throughout the system will be combined with water production readings.  Although this may seem like a complicated process, the City would simply add up all the readings from the smart water meters and compare it to the amount of water produced at the Water Purification Plant.  If the plant made more water than homes or businesses used, then crews are sent out to find and repair the leaks.  In addition to saving money, having the ability to find leaks more quickly allows for the repairs to be scheduled at a time when shutting off the water will be of a minimal inconvenience to property owners.


Water Conservation Rebates and Incentives

As part of the Water Conservation and Servicing Master Plan, the City is considering offering rebates and incentives to reduce water use.  The following strategies are being considered along with the installation of City-wide water meters to help residents and businesses use and waste less water.

 Toilet Rebate Program

The City would offer rebates of $50 towards the replacement of high-water use toilets with high efficiency units (4.8 litres per flush or less).  Rebates would only be available for the installation of qualifying toilets in homes and businesses built prior to 1997.  Homes built after 1996 were required to be built with 6 litre per flush or less toilets and would not be eligible for the rebate.  There would also be a limit on the number of rebates per home (usually one or two per home).

With metered water rates, a high efficiency toilet could save the average household between $50 and $100 on their annual water and wastewater bill (higher savings would be associated with the replacement of older 20 litres per flush toilets).

 Home Visits and Water Audits
The City and St. Lawrence River Institute would offer free home visits and water audits to identify water saving opportunities and specific retrofit opportunities to reduce water use.  Home audits would address indoor and outdoor water use.
 Non-Residential Facility Audit and Rebates
The City and St. Lawrence River Institute would offer free facility audits to identify potential water savings through retrofitting equipment.  Once retrofits are complete, rebates would be available based on the capital improvements that permanently reduce water demand.

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