Water and Wastewater Master Plan
The Water and Wastewater Master Plan is the Region’s plan for providing safe, cost-efficient and reliable water and wastewater services to the Region’s residents, businesses and communities.
York Region is expected to grow to 2.02 million people and 990,000 jobs by 2051. To accommodate this growth, address the Region’s evolving communities and stay current with the changing needs of the future, the Region reviews and updates the plan every five years. In May 2022, York Region Council endorsed the 2022 Water and Wastewater Master Plan update.
The Master Plan’s goal is to support healthy and complete communities by identifying long-term strategies, initiatives, programs and infrastructure projects to meet water and wastewater servicing needs to 2051 and beyond.
View the 2022 Water and Wastewater Master Plan
- 2022 Water and Wastewater Master Plan
- Appendix A – Infrastructure
- Appendix B – Consultation Summary – B.1 to B.4
- Appendix B – Consultation Summary – B.5 to B.9
- Appendix C – Demand Management Programs
The Master Plan was updated following Approach #1 of the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment master planning process. Thank you to all who participated and provided feedback.
What happens next?
The servicing strategy identified in the Water and Wastewater Master Plan update will be implemented. This includes carrying out appropriate policy and program recommendations, maintaining existing water and wastewater infrastructure and building new infrastructure in accordance with the Class Environmental Assessments process.
One Water Approach
What is “One Water”?
One Water is an integrated planning and implementation approach that considers the urban water cycle as a single integrated system. Urban water flows are identified as potential resources and the connection between drinking water supply, groundwater, stormwater and wastewater is optimized. Their combined impact on flooding, water quality, wetlands and water courses are recognized. This approach strives to reduce the need to build new infrastructure by making the best use of existing infrastructure, conserving water and employing water reuse to create opportunities for treated wastewater.
York Region turned to One Water to help identify cost effective solutions leading to a financially sustainable system, to reduce reliance on water sources beyond its borders, and to minimize its impact on the natural environment.
One Water is a key strategic component of the Water and Wastewater Master Plan that was introduced to help identify cost-effective solutions leading to a financially sustainable system, reduce reliance on water sources beyond York Region’s borders and minimize impact on the natural environmental, all while meeting the water needs of a growing population.
Through implementing the Master Plan update, the One Water approach is applied by making decisions using guiding principles:
- Innovation: practice and explore new concepts and ideas to promote cost efficiency and environmental sustainability
- Integration: take a coordinated, holistic approach to water resource management
- Infra-stretching: maximize the useful life and capacity of built infrastructure to minimize or defer capital investment
Previous Master Plan Update (2016)
The 2022 Water and Wastewater Master Plan update was developed on the foundation of the 2016 Plan, with the servicing strategy and infrastructure adjusted to accommodate updated population and employment forecasts to 2051.
- 2016 Water and Wastewater Master Plan Update final report
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Water Wastewater Master Plan?
The Water and Wastewater Master Plan provides a long-term water and wastewater servicing strategy that supports existing communities and growth to 2051. It integrates social, environmental and financial sustainability principles. Updates to the Master Plan are coordinated with the Region’s Municipal Comprehensive Review and follow Phases 1 and 2 of the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment process. In combination with other plans, studies and reports, it meets the needs of Section 3.2.6 of the Province’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
What is a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Process? What does this mean for the Water and Wastewater Master Plan?
The Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Process is an approved process under the Environmental Assessment Act.
The Water and Wastewater Master Plan is conducted in accordance with the requirements of Phases 1 and 2 of the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Process.
The Class Environmental Assessment process provides a consistent, streamlined and easily understood process for planning and implementing municipal infrastructure projects. It also ensures public and stakeholder participation.
By completing Phases 1 and 2 of the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment process, York Region can expedite the implementation of certain servicing solutions identified in the Water and Wastewater Master Plan. The Master Plan provides the basis for future studies for specific proposed Schedule B and C projects.
How does the Master Plan consider long-term sustainability?
The Water and Wastewater Master Plan is based on three key principles using the One Water approach. The principles, with more specific examples considered, are:
- Integration: taking a coordinated and holistic approach to water resource and growth management
- Regional, local municipal planning
- Asset management projects
- Water conservation
- Inflow and infiltration reduction
- Innovation: practicing and exploring new concepts and ideas to promote cost efficiency and environmental sustainability
- Optimizing energy efficiency, consumption and costs
- Climate change adaptation and resiliency
- Water reuse
- Exploring new technologies
- Infrastructure optimization (Infra-stretching): maximizing the useful life and capacity of built infrastructure to defer and/or minimize capital investment
How does the Water and Wastewater Master Plan Update relate to other Regional initiatives?
Directly related to the Water and Wastewater Master Plan Update are:
- The Municipal Comprehensive Review helps the Region plan for growth and ensures that the infrastructure to support that growth is in place, now and for the future and includes the review of the Regional Official Plan and Transportation Master Plan
- The Regional Official Plan outlines the policies of York Region to guide growth management, economic, environmental and community planning decisions. The Plan helps ensure we are building communities that are healthy and complete, where both current and future residents of all abilities and ages can live, work and play. The Water and Wastewater Master Plan is an infrastructure master plan to service the growth identified in the Regional Official Plan
- The Transportation Master Plan is the long-term vision for York Region’s transportation network, encompassing strategy, initiatives and infrastructure to support growth and the changing needs of travellers. It supports healthy communities and economic growth by ensuring the Regional transportation network meets the needs of motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders
The Regional Official Plan, Water and Wastewater Master Plan and the Transportation Master Plan are updated at the same so that we grow in a coordinated way and ensure we have essential infrastructure in the right place at the right time at the right cost.
These three plans are key inputs into the Region’s 2022 Development Charges Bylaw update. Development charges are fees collected on new developments that help fund growth-related infrastructure including paramedic, police, public health, roads, social housing, transit, waste diversion, water and wastewater services. These charges ensure proper infrastructure is in place in time to welcome new residents and businesses to York Region.
How does the Master Plan address water quality?
The Water and Wastewater Master Plan is a long-range overview infrastructure plan to provide water and wastewater services to our growing communities to 2051. While water safety and quality is inherently considered in our service delivery planning, treatment strategies for the infrastructure recommended in the Master Plan will be developed at the facility design stage during a project-specific environmental assessment.
Water safety and quality is extremely important to York Region. All water distributed to our residents by York Region’s local nine cities and towns must meet high regulatory quality standards as legislated by the Province of Ontario. York Region’s water is monitored around the clock to ensure it complies with the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards, which identify more than 100 criteria for safe consumption limits, proven based on medical research. These criteria are revised by the Province as needed to reflect new scientific findings or concerns. For more information, please visit york.ca/drinkingwater
Does the Master Plan consider water conservation and efficiency initiatives like grey water use?
To anticipate future water and wastewater infrastructure needs, the Water and Wastewater Master Plan uses historical water consumption data which reflects the success of the Long-Term Water Conservation Strategy (LTWCS) and uses that to inform estimates of future water demands. Opportunities to use water more efficiently such as using greywater are explored further through the LTWCS. To learn more, visit york.ca/longtermwater
York Region has a long history of practicing water conservation and efficiency programming that spans more than twenty years. York Region’s LTWCS expands on existing Regional plans, strategies and programs, and sets the stage for innovative and jurisdiction-leading water conservation and efficiency programming. The strategy is updated on a five-year cycle and was updated in 2021.
How do I know if my property/development will receive servicing?
The Water and Wastewater Master Plan is a long-range overview infrastructure plan to provide water and wastewater services to growth identified through the Municipal Comprehensive Review/Regional Official Plan update.
The Regional Official Plan must comply with provincial legislation such as the Provincial Policy Statement, the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. These plans contain policies that guide how York Region plans for municipal servicing and include restrictions on extending lake-based municipal servicing or extending partial servicing for specific areas.
Towns and cities will be updating their local Official Plans to conform with the updated Regional Official Plan. As towns and cities are responsible for distribution of municipal water and wastewater servicing directly to the end user, they will identify if/when a particular development or property will receive municipal servicing.
Please contact your local town or city for more information on servicing plans for a specific location.
For more information about the Municipal Comprehensive Review, visit york.ca/mcr
How does the Water and Wastewater Master Plan protect the environment and water supplies for the future?
The Water and Wastewater Master Plan sets out a long-term infrastructure plan to service the growth envisioned through the Regional Official Plan update. The Regional Official Plan is the blueprint for future growth and development in York Region and outlines policies to guide growth management, economic, environmental and community planning decisions. These policies, based on direction from provincial legislation, aim to protect agriculture, the natural heritage system (environmentally significant areas, aquatic and wildlife habitats, etc.) and the water resources system.
Beyond the Regional Official Plan, York Region has other initiatives, plans and programs to protect the environment and water supplies. Source Water Protection is a program legislated by the Province of Ontario to protect municipal drinking water sources from contamination or over-use. York Region has a Source Water Protection program that works with municipalities, agricultural, industrial and commercial industries, residents and developers to protect our water sources from threats like pollution within vulnerable areas now and into the future. Learn more at york.ca/protectingwater
York Region staff go above and beyond government requirements and monitor water and wastewater for emerging contaminants to provide context to developing research and identify any potential future risks early. Staff work with world class researchers to determine if steps need to be taken to address new contaminants in the treatment process and advocate with other levels of government to reduce the amount of potentially risky chemicals from reaching drinking water supplies by reducing them at the source.
For more information about the 2022 Master Plan Update, contact Access York at @email or 1-877-464-9675.
For information on hot environmental topics, contests and events please subscribe to our Splash Newsletter.