York Region water is safe, reliable, clean, affordable, convenient.
Water continues to be one of most affordable utilities in Ontario. This brochure as well as the following videos, explain how your water dollars are invested.
Have a question about York Region water? We have answers.
How is water pressure maintained so evenly?
Ontario’s guidelines require drinking water systems be kept at a minimum pressure of 275 kPa (a kilopascal of pressure, roughly 40 pounds per square inch). In York Region, that pressure is maintained with 21 pumping stations throughout our system and by water towers exerting the pressure of gravity. Electronic monitoring throughout the system confirms steady pressure. Local power failures or maintenance issues can cause temporary drops in pressure, but these are rare.
Why do we have water towers?
Water towers are large elevated tanks constructed on high points of land and built to heights that ensure gravity will create the necessary pressure to reliably deliver drinking water to residents and businesses. York Region's 29 water towers are between 26.85 and 50.25 metres tall, with an average height of 36.54 metres. Each metre provides 9.807 kPa of pressure or just over 392 pounds per square inch.
Water towers are essential to the water supply system in three ways: to equalize pressure, to provide large volumes of water when needed for fire-fighting, and to provide an emergency supply if catastrophe occurs.
Towers continually equalize pressure by adding pressurized water to the system at times of peak use. This enables municipalities to save money by sizing pumps and pumping stations for average rather than peak use.
The storage tanks at the top of water towers can be very large. The two largest tanks in York Region are Richmond Hill’s Bloomington and Coon elevated tanks, each holding 7,550 cubic metres of water. All York Region elevated tanks are designed to hold approximately one-to-two days’ supply of water for the households and businesses served by the tower.
How does the stormwater system differ from the wastewater system?
The stormwater system is a sewer system under our streets. Storm drains channel rain and melted snow from roofs, streets, parking lots and other paved areas to storm water holding ponds and into our creeks, rivers and lakes without treatment.
The wastewater system carries used water from homes, schools and businesses to water resource recovery facilities. After treatment, this water is safe to re-enter the environment.
Once water goes down my drain, where does it go?
The drains and toilet pipes in homes and businesses carry wastewater into large underground sewers. With the help of gravity and pumping stations, this used water is moved to water resource recovery facilities.
The wastewater from approximately 80 per cent of York Region is treated at the Duffin Creek Water Resource Recovery Facility on Lake Ontario east of Toronto. After treatment, that wastewater re-enters Lake Ontario. The communities of Mount Albert, Schomberg, Nobleton, Kleinburg, Holland Landing, Sutton and Keswick have their own water resource recovery facilities. Treated wastewater from those plants is returned to Lake Simcoe.
In all cases, the water entering the lakes is treated in keeping with strict environmental standards, regulated by the Province. It is returned cleaner than the raw water taken from the lake.
What are the main components of our water distribution system?
Water distribution systems are primarily made up of water transmission mains, narrower pipes that split off those mains, valves, pumping stations, storage tanks and reservoirs. Water is delivered from treatment plants or wells to consumers.
York Region operates a “trunk” distribution system, mainly consisting of large trunk lines and 162 individual facilities such as pumping stations and reservoirs. The local municipalities deliver water from our mains to homes, businesses and schools within their jurisdictions. They own and maintain those parts of the system.
We want to hear from you!
Submit your question today to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check back often as we publish new frequently asked questions and answers.
The Water Is campaign increases public awareness about the importance and value of water
York Region is committed to providing safe, reliable, clean, affordable and convenient drinking water. York Region is also committed to explaining how our vast and complex water system works.
The Water Is campaign reveals how our hidden water system functions, why it’s important and how we are all connected to it. This enhanced understanding of water will:
- Empower people to become leaders in their communities and advocates of water conservation
- Inspire people to get involved with efforts to protect and improve the quality of our lakes and streams for now and for future generations
- Media Release: Turning the tap on financial stability
- Media Release: York Region recognized as Environmental Champion
- Find information on the Lake Simcoe kids book Do Fish Fart? And 200 more amazing questions and answers about Lake Simcoe
- Water is Hidden brochure (for print)
- Water is Moving article
- Water is Protected article
- Media Release, March 26, 2015: York Region achieves 100 per cent on Chief Drinking Water Inspector’s Annual Report