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Water and Wastewater Master Plan

York Region is updating its Water and Wastewater Master Plan to ensure drinking water and wastewater services meet community needs now and into the future. 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.

Why update the Master Plan?

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. The last Master Plan update, endorsed by Council in 2016, is the foundation of this work.

  • 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
  • The updated Master Plan will be presented to York Region Council for endorsement in 2021
  • The Master Plan update will follow the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment master planning process and will become the basis for future studies for proposed Schedule B and C projects

NOTICE: Prior project communications indicated the Master Plan Update would also fulfill the requirements for selected Schedule B projects identified in the plan. This direction has changed and now Schedule B Environmental Assessments for specific projects will happen as standalone studies outside of the Master Plan process.

Where are we in the process and how to get involved

The Plan update involves three stages:  Discover, Explore, and Reveal. In each of these stages, the Region will seek public feedback to better understand your perspectives on our water and wastewater system. An Open House will be held at each stage. 

The graphic below shows the project timeline and theme of each Open House.

Note: Open House 2 has been rescheduled for early 2021.

where we are in the process
In the Discover stage, we listened and learned. The Region listened to stakeholders, partners and the public to understand views, concerns and expectations through consultation. 

This stage also informed people about:

  • Our existing water and wastewater systems
  • Constraints and opportunities to providing water and wastewater services to existing and future communities
  • Existing water and wastewater programs, policies and strategies and how they integrate with the Water and Wastewater Master Plan

We are currently in the Explore stage. In the Explore stage, we will consult with the public and stakeholders to get feedback on potential servicing options. We will ensure input received at the Discover stage is understood and considered prior to developing the proposed servicing solutions. 

This stage aims to:

  • Identify needs and priorities of local municipalities
  • Develop and evaluate alternative strategies to provide water and wastewater service to existing and future communities to 2051 

The Reveal stage focuses on presenting the proposed short- and long-term strategies. At this point, we will look for feedback to confirm we are on the right track. 

This stage aims to:

  • Identify and confirm the preferred water and wastewater servicing strategy for both existing and future communities
  • Finalize Water and Wastewater Master Plan Update documents for public and Regional Council review and endorsement

Public and stakeholder engagement will be incorporated at all phases of the project.


Open House 1 (2019)

Our engagement activities for the Discover stage of the 2021 Water and Wastewater Master Plan Update concluded in November 2019.

A report was prepared summarizing the Open House events of 2019 and how the feedback received will be considered in the Master Plan. You can view the summary report here.

You can view Open House 1's Display Boards and view the online Open House presentation. Should you have any questions, feel free to email us at water@york.ca

As we continue into the Explore stage, stay up-to-date on opportunities to get involved by signing up for our:

Accessible formats or communication supports due to disability are available upon request. Please contact AccessYork@york.ca or call 1-877-464-9675.

How else will I hear about public engagement opportunities?

Public engagement opportunities will be promoted in local newspapers, on this webpage and on York Region’s social media channels Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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One Water Approach

What is “One Water”?

One Water is a concept that looks at making the best possible use of water from every source to sustain healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy environment. 

The One Water approach considers the urban water cycle as a single integrated system. Urban water flows are identified as potential resources and the interconnectedness of drinking water supply, groundwater, stormwater and wastewater is optimized. Their combined impact on flooding, water quality, wetlands and water courses is 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.

One Water is a key strategic component of the Master Plan and will allow York Region to sustainably meet the water needs of a growing population.

Through 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

decision making graphic

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Previous Masterplan Update (2016)

The 2021 Water and Wastewater Master Plan update is being developed on the foundation of the 2016 version. The servicing strategy and infrastructure recommended in 2016 will be reviewed and adjusted to accommodate updated population and employment forecasts to 2051. 

Key outcomes of the 2016 Master Plan:

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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 being 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.

Why does York Region’s Water and Wastewater Master Plan need to be updated?

York Region’s current Water and Wastewater Master Plan was endorsed by Council in 2016. Updating the Plan on a regular basis ensures projects and initiatives reflect the Region’s evolving needs and challenges.

How will the Master Plan consider long-term sustainability?

Similar to the 2016 Water and Wastewater Master Plan, this update is based on three key principles using the One Water approach. The principles, with more specific examples of what will be 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

What happens after the Master Plan is completed?

Once the Plan is completed, we will implement the servicing strategy identified in the Master Plan. 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.

How does the Water and Wastewater Master Plan Update relate to other Regional initiatives?

York Region is completing the Water and Wastewater Master Plan Update in coordination with the Region’s Municipal Comprehensive Review. 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 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 York Region’s blueprint addressing the transportation and mobility needs of those living and working in York Region to 2051 and beyond, as identified in the Regional Official Plan. It guides planning and investing in the Region’s transportation network, including Regional Roads, York Region Transit (YRT/Viva) and regional cycling and walking trails and pathways

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 on the basis of 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

Is the Master Plan considering 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 the next update is planned to be complete 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. For more information about the Municipal Comprehensive Review, visit york.ca/mcr. For more information about land development within York Region, see york.ca/landdevelopment

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Get Involved and Stay Connected!

There are many opportunities to get involved in the Water and Wastewater Master Plan Update project. For more information, to sign up for project updates or to submit questions or comments about the 2021 Master Plan Update, contact water@york.ca or 1-877-464-9675.

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Web page last updated: Oct 23, 2020


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