Ottawa Rural Clean Water Program (ORCWP) – Program description and application
Now accepting applications.
The Ottawa Rural Clean Water Program provides funding for projects that protect surface water and groundwater quality.
- Any property in rural Ottawa
- Agricultural or well decommissioning and septic projects within Ottawa’s urban boundary
- Non-profit organizations are also eligible for demonstration and other educational projects
*Our interactive map shows the urban and rural boundaries as well as the Well Head Protection Areas.
- Apply prior to starting work on your project
- Obtain all necessary permits, approvals, and meet all legal requirements
- Complete a 3rd or 4th Edition Environmental Farm Plan (farm projects), or Healthy Home Guidebook (non-farm projects). Canadian Organic Certification is also accepted for some farm projects
- Maintain the project once completed
What is generally eligible for funding?
- Materials and supplies
- Contract labour and professional fees
- Reasonable in-kind contributions for applicant’s labour ($20/hr) and equipment ($50/hr) to complete the approved project
Need help developing a project?
- Free advisory service for stewardship projects, including a site visit to your property
To find out more, please consult the applicant guide and application form.
|Eligible projects||Maximum grant %||Maximum grant $|
|Nutrient Management||Manure storage and treatment||50%||$15,000|
|Nutrient management/precision farming plans||50%||$2,000|
|Soil Protection||Erosion control||90%||$7,500|
|Tile outlet erosion control||75%||$2,500|
|Cover crops||$50 per acre per year. Maximum: 20 acres; 3 years|
|Water Management||Clean water diversion||50%||$5,000|
|Tile drain control structures||75%||$5,000|
|Chemical or fuel storage||50%||$2,000|
|Well decommissioning Septic system repair/replacement||90% 50%||$3,000 $2,000|
|Land Stewardship||Watercourse buffers||90%||$7,500|
|Land retirement incentive||$150 per acre per year. Maximum: 10 acres; 3 years|
|Forest and Wetland Management Plan Wetland restoration||75% 50%||$750 $5,000|
|Educational initiatives||Educational initiatives||75%||$5,000|
If you would like more information, please contact:
LandOwner Resource Centre
P.O. Box 599
3889 Rideau Valley Drive
Tel: 613-692-3571 ext. 1136
Applicant Guide [ PDF 233 KB ]
The goal of the Ottawa Rural Clean Water Program (ORCWP) is to protect Ottawa’s streams, rivers, wetlands and groundwater by providing cost-share grants to Ottawa farmers and rural landowners, including rural villages.
The Program encourages and assists rural landowners to complete projects and practices that protect water quality. This includes reducing pollution from uncontrolled sources, such as soil erosion from cropland; manure pile runoff and leaching; fuel, chemical and fertilizer spills; and improperly abandoned water wells. If not properly managed, these sources of pollution add sediment, nutrients, bacteria and chemicals to the City’s waterways and groundwater. The ORCWP offers cost-share grants and educational initiatives to promote best management practices and other rural land stewardship.
The Ottawa Rural Clean Water Program is delivered in partnership with the local Conservation Authorities (CAs) of Ottawa (Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, and South Nation Conservation) to offer more localized landowner service and more consistent delivery of landowner grant programs. Landowners will be served by the Conservation Authority in which they reside. CAs will also streamline the application process for eligible landowners that are completing projects through the Green Acres Program or shoreline naturalization programs offered by the Rideau Valley, Mississippi Valley and South Nation Conservation Authorities. The ORCWP is guided by a Program Committee composed of representatives of agricultural organizations, environmental stewardship groups, local and provincial agencies, and residents. Contact the Landowner Resource Centre if you’re interested in joining a committee.
What You Need to Know
Are you eligible?
You may be eligible if all of these apply:
- Your project will protect and improve surface water and/or groundwater quality
- You contact the Program to apply for funding prior to starting your project
- Your proposed project is:
- A farm project located in the City of Ottawa
- A well decommissioning project located within the City of Ottawa
- A non-farm project located within rural* Ottawa or
- An educational initiative delivered in the City of Ottawa by a not-for-profit organization, and
- You have not received more than $25,000 in grants from the Ottawa Rural Clean Water Program between 2021 – 2025.
*Rural, for the purposes of this Program, is defined as land located outside of the urban designation as defined in the City of Ottawa’s Official Plan. Visit our interactive map for more information. Farms in the urban designation are eligible for farm projects.
Details on each eligible project can be found at Ottawa.ca/cleanwater
Prerequisites for Funding
Applicants with approved projects must provide the following prior to grant payment being issued:
- Letter from EFP Coordinator confirming the completion of a peer-reviewed and approved 3rd or 4th Edition Environmental Farm Plan (agricultural related projects)
- A copy of the applicant’s Organic Certification from Pro-Cert Organic Systems Ltd, OCIA International, or Trans Canada Organic Certification (agricultural related projects)
- Completion of the Healthy Home Guidebook (non-agricultural related projects)
- Exception: Projects applying for Educational Initiatives or Forest & Wetland Management Plan are not required to meet the above pre-requisites; however, they must meet all other requirements outlined in the project guidelines.
Permits and Approvals for Projects
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the project meets all legal requirements, including City by-laws, provincial and federal acts and regulations, and Conservation Authority permits/approvals.
How to Apply for Funding
- Applicants completing projects through Green Acres or shoreline naturalization programs offered by the Rideau Valley, Mississippi Valley and South Nation Conservation Authorities will not need to submit an application. CA staff will top-up funding for eligible ORCWP projects.
- All other applicants:
- Contact the LandOwner Resource Centre (LRC) at (613) 692-3571 or toll free at 1-800-267-3504 ext. 1136 to verify that the proposed project is located in the eligible area and meets the funding guidelines. The LRC will forward eligible applicant’s contact information to your local CA or visit ottawa.ca/cleanwater to complete an application form.
- Allow access to your property for site visits by ORCWP representatives. Site visits are required for all projects, will be pre-arranged with you, and will be conducted with you (or your representative) present.
- Obtain all necessary permits or approvals prior to construction of your project.
- Submit design information (e.g. dimensions, plans, drawings, etc.) with your application where applicable.
- Obtain quotes for the proposed project and submit with your application.
- Provide or allow photos to be taken of the project site and if approved, during construction and of the final project.
- Allow project photos to be used for promotional and reporting purposes.
To be eligible for funding, all applications must be submitted by May 1 of each year. A second call for applications may be held in September if program funds are not fully allocated in May. Applications will be accepted after these dates if funding is available and will be reviewed at the next scheduled Conservation Authority review committee meeting.
- Landowners must initiate their application (i.e. contact the LRC or your local CA) PRIOR to starting the project(s). Retro-active funding is not available through the ORCWP.
- Applicants must identify all funds applied for and/or received from other funding sources at the time of application.
What is generally eligible for funding?
- Materials and supplies.
- Professional fees and contract labour.
- Permits and application fees.
- Taxes are ineligible.
- Refer to each individual project guideline for further eligibility information.
How Is Your Project Reviewed?
- Applicants to the Green Acres or shoreline naturalization programs offered by the Rideau Valley, Mississippi Valley and South Nation Conservation Authorities will receive ORCWP approval if the proposed project has been approved by one of these other programs.
- Applicants applying through their local CA:
- Your local CA’s multi-stakeholder review committee will assess your project against the ORCWP Guidelines. If funding requests exceed available funding, priority will be given to projects with the greatest potential to improve and protect surface water and/or groundwater quality.
- The review committee may decide at any time to fund an application at a grant rate or grant ceiling that is lower than the published maximum rate or ceiling. This decision may be made based on availability of funds or potential of the project to improve water quality
- Exception: CA staff may approve projects for Well Decommissioning, Forest Management Plan, or Septic System Repair/Replacement providing that all criteria under the Applicant Guide and Project Guidelines are met. Approval by the review committee is not a requirement for the above-listed projects. CA staff may seek approval from the review committee on a case-by-case basis, as needed.
- Applicants will receive confirmation of project approval from their ORCWP delivery staff.
- Approved projects must be completed and paperwork submitted within 12 months from date of approval, or December 31, 2025, whichever is earlier. The completion deadline will be confirmed in the applicant’s approval letter.
- Project invoices must be prepaid by the applicant.
- Upon completion of project, submit the following:
- Invoices (including detailed breakdown of labour, equipment, and other materials/services)
- Proof of payment (e.g. cancelled cheques, invoices mark “paid” and signed by the supplier, credit card receipts)
- Permits and Approvals
- Any other documents listed in your project guideline and/or approval letter
- Photos of completed project
- Farm projects: copy of letter from the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association confirming completion of the 3rd or 4th Edition of the Environmental Farm Plan; for Nutrient Management projects, a copy of the applicant’s Organic Certification under the Canada Organic Regime will be accepted in lieu of the Environmental Farm Plan, and
- Education Initiatives: a final report outlining their audience reach, how the ORCWP was recognized for their support, and any other deliverables as per the approved project proposal.
After all of your final paperwork has been submitted and approved for payment by Program staff, your cheque will be issued by your local Conservation Authority.
If you have been approved for an annual performance incentive, you must contact your local Conservation Authority to arrange for an annual inspection of your project. The inspection will ensure that the project continues to be managed according to Project Guidelines and committee approval. If you are approved for both a grant and performance incentive for your project, the performance incentive will begin one year after the initial grant payment is made and will continue for a maximum of three years or until the termination of the Program, whichever occurs first.
Applicants will be sent an ORCWP sign to install on your property. Applicants will be given an opportunity to provide feedback on the Program through an online survey. Program representatives may also request to visit a project up to five years following completion. Follow-up sites visits will be pre-arranged.
Denial of Funding
If you are not satisfied with the decision of the review committee, you may appeal the decision using the following process:
- Submit a letter of appeal to your Conservation Authority within three months of the original decision by the review committee. Your appeal will be heard by the Ottawa Rural Clean Water Program Committee at their next scheduled meeting.
- You will be required to attend the meeting to present the details of your project to the Ottawa Rural Clean Water Program Committee.
- The decision of the Ottawa Rural Clean Water Program Committee is final.
Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
Information provided by the applicant on the application form, or as support material with the application, may be made available to Program staff and/or members of the Program’s committees. Application forms will be retained on file regardless of whether or not funding is granted. The names of all applicants may be made public as a result of submissions under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Information collected on the Application Form or as application support material may become part of a public document if your project receives grant funding from the Ottawa Rural Clean Water Program.
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
3889 Rideau Valley Drive
Manotick, ON, K4M 1A5
Phone: (613) 692-3571 or (800) 267-3504 ext. 1136
Fax: (613) 692-0831
Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority
10970 Hwy. 7
Carleton Place, ON K7C 3P1
Phone: (613) 253-0006
Fax: (613) 253-0122
South Nation Conservation
38 Victoria Street
P.O. Box 29
Finch, ON, K0C 1K0
Phone: (877) 984-2948
Fax: (613) 984-2872
- Manure storage and treatment
- Washwater treatment
- Nutrient management plan/precision farming
- Watercourse fencing
- Erosion control
- Tile outlet erosion control
- Cover crops
- Clean water diversion
- Tile drain control structures
- Chemical or fuel storage
- Well decommissioning
- Watercourse buffers
- Natural windbreaks
- Forest and wetland management plan
- Land retirement incentive
- Educational initiatives
- Innovative projects
- Septic system repair/replacement
- Wetland restoration
What's new in the 2021-2025 ORCWP
In May 2021 the City’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and Council approved a renewed 2021-2025 Ottawa Rural Clean Water Program.
The renewed grant program includes one new grant type and other supports such as:
- Wetland restoration
- Increased funding for nutrient management/precision farming, chemical or fuel storage, and septic system repair/replacement
- Increased grant rate for tile drain control structures
- Staff level approvals for forest management plans, septic system repair/replacement, and well decommissioning
The Report to Council includes the findings of the 2016-2020 Program Review as well as the recommendations for the 2021-2025 Ottawa program. These documents can be viewed here.
The Ottawa Rural Clean Water Program will continue to be offered in partnership with the Mississippi Valley, Rideau Valley and South Nation Conservation Authorities.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the program review.
The Ottawa Rural Clean Water Program provides grants of up to $15,000 to farmers and other rural landowners to undertake a variety of projects on their property that protect water quality. The ORCWP has supported more than 1,300 grants since it began in 2000. For more information please see Ottawa.ca/cleanwater.
The Program Committee guides the delivery of the Ottawa Rural Clean Water Program. Committee members also serve as ambassadors of the Program, assisting with promotion and education, and identifying opportunities to meet the Program goals.
Meet the 2016-2020 Program Committee:
Arnprior Region Federation of Agriculture
City of Ottawa
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Ottawa-Carleton Soil and Crop Improvement Association
Ottawa Chapter of the Ontario Woodlot Association
Ottawa Federation of Agriculture
Ottawa Stewardship Council
Ottawa Septic System Office
Ottawa Chapter of the Canadian Organic Growers
Member at Large