Water Environment Strategy

The Water Environment Strategy (WES) helps protect the health of the City’s waterways, wetlands and groundwater and reduces the impacts of human activity. It is one of 17 projects approved under the Ottawa River Action Plan.

More than 4,500 km of waterways span the Mississippi, Rideau and South Nation watersheds, including hundreds of small streams, municipal drains, and major creeks and rivers such as the Carp, Jock, Castor and Bear Brook. These ultimately drain to the Ottawa River. A healthy water environment provides safe, abundant drinking water; supports agriculture, recreation and tourism; lessens the impact of flood events; and helps sustains fish and wildlife.

Ottawa's waterways

The Water Environment Strategy was brought forward in two phases:

  • The Phase 1 WES report was approved by Council in March 2014 and contains a summary of key issues, jurisdictions and roles as well as a workplan
  • The Phase 2 WES report and supporting document establishes 20-year goals and objectives, and sets priorities for 2016-2018. It was approved by Council in June 2016.

WES goals and objectives

The strategy was developed in consultation with several City departments, the Mississippi Valley, Rideau Valley and South Nation Conservation Authorities, external agencies and stakeholders, and residents. A public Water Round Table was held in 2014 to gather input and ideas early in the process.

The strategy will be implemented through four-year action plans to be tabled with Council once per term along with a progress report that addresses accomplishments, challenges and gaps. The 2016-2018 workplan is included as Appendix 1 in the Water Environment Strategy Phase 2 Report.

Have a question or comment on the Water Environment Strategy?

Please email us at WES@ottawa.ca.