This site uses JavaScript. Please enable JavaScript in your Browser and reload the page to view the full site.

Water conservation tips

Better understand how you can reduce your water consumption and save on your water bill.

Conserving water benefits the environment by allowing the City to defer costly expansions to water treatment and distribution facilities in addition to wasting our most precious natural resource - water. Practice the three Rs and reduce your impact on natural resources, treatment and delivery systems, and save money.

  • Reduce - be aware of your water use, and consider ways to use less.
  • Repair - locate and repair leaks to save water, money, and to prevent potentially costly property damage.
  • Retrofit - install water saving devices on existing fixtures and select water efficient devices when replacing older, water-guzzling fixtures and appliances.

How do I tell how much water I use?

What else could be making my water bill high?

There could be a leak.

To check to see if your home has a water leak you can either read your meter before retiring for the evening and read it again in the morning to see if the reading changed or turn off all fixtures and appliances that use water and check the leak detector indicator - the red triangle or flow indicator on your water meter for movement. There is a leak if it continues to move even though all water fixtures and appliances are turned off.

Water Billing - Manage your water consumption

New features to manage your consumption are now available online. See how to view your consumption and set alerts.

There's a leak somewhere, now what do I do?

The most likely place for a leak is the toilet. To check for leaks in your toilet, add a few drops of food colouring or a cold cup of black coffee to the water in the tank. Wait a few minutes. If, without flushing the toilet, the colour appears in the bowl your toilet has a leak that should be repaired immediately.

Other places for leaks - faucets and showerheads.

To check for leaks, make sure the sink or tub is dry, insert the plug into the drain, wait, check the sink or tub from time to time. You have a leak if water starts to pool in the sink or tub.

Don't forget to check all bathrooms, the kitchen and outside taps.

Why conserve?

The Ottawa River, water source for both the Britannia and Lemieux Water Purification Plants, is the greatest tributary of the St. Lawrence River and the second longest Canadian river flowing 1,271 kilometres. However, the process of turning water into safe drinking water costs money due to the sophisticated processes, infrastructure, facilities, and chemical and electrical costs required to deliver this valuable product to homes all over the City of Ottawa.

That's why people should use water more carefully in and around the home. Being WaterWise benefits the environment, and allows us to defer expanding our water facilities - saving residents added expense.

Indoors

Bathrooms

Reduce

Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your hands. Fill the sink with a few centimetres of warm water to wash or rinse your razor while shaving. For brushing, fill a glass with water to rinse your mouth.

 Take shorter showers and use only a portion of the water you currently use or fill the tub one-quarter full if you prefer a bath.

Repair

  • Check for leaks - To check for leaks in your toilet, add a few drops of food colouring or a cooled cup of black coffee to the water in the tank and wait a few minutes. If, without flushing the toilet, the colour appears in the bowl your toilet has a leak that should be repaired immediately.
  • A toilet that continues to run after flushing, if the leak is large enough, can waste up to 200,000 litres of water in a single year! 

Retrofit

  • Showerheads - older showerheads can use about 20L of water every minute. Replace your older showerhead with a new low-flow showerhead and save water and money. Look for a showerhead that uses 9.5L per minute or less.
  • Taps - faucet aerators can reduce water use by 25 per cent. Replace your older aerator with a new low-flow aerator and save water and money.
  • Toilets - older toilets use about 20L of water per flush. The Ontario Building Code requires 6L low-flow toilets for new construction and 13L toilets for renovations.
  • There are many products that you can install in the tank of an existing water-guzzling toilet to reduce the amount of water used, such as a water displacement (plastic bag or bottle), water retention (toilet dams) or alternative flushing (early closure or dual-flush)
  • Check with your local plumbing supply of hardware store to find which method will work best for your toilet. Don't put rocks or bricks in your toilet tank as these can breakdown over time and cause damage. Or replace your water-guzzling toilet with a low-flow 6L version, a 3L/6L dual flush, or high efficiency 4L flush toilet - that's 1/5 the volume of water per flush (and 1/5 the cost!).
  • Turn off the tap - For a cold glass of water, keep a jug in the fridge instead of running the tap.
  • Dishwashers - always wash full loads for greatest water and energy savings or adjust the settings to the amount of dishes to be washed. 
  • By hand - to wash dishes by hand only fill the sink one-quarter to half full. Rinse using a second, one-quarter to half-full sink and avoid running the water.
  • Steamed not boiled - Steaming food uses less water, less energy and helps to retain nutrients.When boiling, use only enough water to cover the food and use a tight-fitting lid.To the top - always wash full loads for greatest water and energy savings or adjust the water level to the amount of laundry to be washed.
  • Check for leaks - regularly check taps and pipes. Prompt repairs can save water, money, and prevent potentially costly property damage. Stop drips and save dollars - faucet washers cost pennies and take minutes to install.
  • Taps - faucet aerators can reduce water use by 25 per cent. Replace your older aerator with a new low-flow aerator and save water and money.
  • Front and centre - Top-load washing machines have agitator arms that generally reduce the size of load that can be washed. Front-load washers do not have agitator arms, and are more gentle on clothes. Wash larger loads and remove more water during the spin cycle to reduce drying time.
  • Spotted - When purchasing a new appliance spot the Enery guide sticker and check the rating to determine energy efficiency and potential savings.

Kitchens and laundry

Reduce

  • Turn off the tap - For a cold glass of water, keep a jug in the fridge instead of running the tap.
  • By hand - to wash dishes by hand only fill the sink one-quarter to half full. Rinse using a second, one-quarter to half-full sink and avoid running the water.
  • Steamed not boiled - Steaming food uses less water, less energy and helps to retain nutrients.
  • When boiling, use only enough water to cover the food and use a tight-fitting lid.
  • To the top - always wash full loads for greatest water and energy savings or adjust the water level to the amount of laundry to be washed.

Repair

  • Check for leaks - regularly check taps and pipes. Prompt repairs can save water, money, and prevent potentially costly property damage. Stop drips and save dollars - faucet washers cost pennies and take minutes to install.

Retrofit

  • Taps - faucet aerators can reduce water use by 25 per cent. Replace your older aerator with a new low-flow aerator and save water and money. 
  • Front and centre - Top-load washing machines have agitator arms that generally reduce the size of load that can be washed. Front-load washers do not have agitator arms, and are more gentle on clothes. Wash larger loads and remove more water during the spin cycle to reduce drying time.
  • Spotted - When purchasing a new appliance spot the Enery guide sticker and check the rating to determine energy efficiency and potential savings.

Outdoors

Driveways, cars and sidewalks

  • Did you know? One drop of oil can render up to 25 litres of water unfit for drinking. 

Reduce

Clean sweep - use a broom to clean driveways, sidewalks and patios, instead of the hose. Let the rain take care of the rest.Turn off the tap - use a bucket and sponge to wash your car and a trigger nozzle on the hose to wet and rinse.Suds away - use a car wash facility that recycles its water and collects and separates out greases and oils.

Repair

  • Check for leaks - regularly check connections and hoses for leaks. Prompt replacement of an inexpensive washer could save water, money and possibly prevent costly property damage.A leak of only one drop per second wastes about 10 000 litres of water annually. 

Retrofit

Trigger change - use a trigger nozzle on a hose to stop the flow of water when not in use.

Pools and hot tubs

Reduce

  • Cover up - covering your pool or hot tub when it's not in use will reduce energy costs, evaporation and the amount of water required for top-up.Turn off the tap - lower water level in your pool or hot tub to reduce water loss due to splashing. Pools should only be filled to 15 to 20 cm from the top.Back off on backwashes - limit backwashes to one to two minutes or until the water becomes clear. Longer backwashes waste water and chemicals.

Repair

Check for leaks - regularly check connections, liners, and pipes for leaks, prompt repair could save water, money and possibly prevent property damage. A leak of only one drop per second wastes about 10 000 litres of water annually. Get the dirt out - check the pump strainer basket and the skimmer basket daily and remove any debris. This can improve water circulation and result in cleaner water.

Retrofit

  • Pre-screen - consider adding a pre-filter to the skimmer basket, this may reduce the frequency of backwashes to three or four times per season.

Water reporting and benchmarking (EWRB) for large building owners

New provincial regulation requires private large building owners to report water and energy consumption to the Ministry of Energy on an annual basis, if you own a building that’s at least 50,000 square feet. Refer to the province’s guide to energy and water reporting for more information on how to report your data.

Deadlines are being phased in over the next 3 years based on property size.

If your commercial or industrial building is at least:

  • 250,000 square feet, your first report is due on July 1, 2018
  • 100,000 square feet, your first report is due on July 1, 2019
  • 50,000 square feet, your first report is due on July 1, 2020

If your multi-unit residential building is at least:

  • 100,000 square feet, your first report is due on July 1, 2019
  • 50,000 square feet, your first report is due on July 1, 2020

There are two options available to building owners to retrieve monthly water consumption data from the City of Ottawa. 

1)    My ServiceOttawa account

  • Most large buildings are billed monthly. You can access your monthly billed consumption through your MyServiceOttawa account.
  • Register for water and sewer billing service, you will need your account number and amount due from your last bill.
  • Select view bills and view your consumption history at the bottom of each bill.

2)    Request a consumption report from the City of Ottawa. An administrative fee will be charged per account for this consumption report.

  • E-mail EWRB@Ottawa.ca,
  • Include the following details:
    • Account #
    • Property Address.
    • Requester’s name.
    • Requester’s mailing address.
    • Contact information (phone, e-mail).
    • Attach written consent from account holder if you are not the account holder.
    • EWRB #
    • Roll #
    • Square footage of the property.
       
  • Requests submitted after June 1 may not be processed before the July 1 deadline

ENERGY AND WATER REPORTING AND BENCHMARKING

The Ontario Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking (EWRB) program requires owners of large commercial, industrial, multi-unit residential and other prescribed types to report their building's energy and water consumption data to the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. It allows building owners to benchmark their building's energy and water consumption usage against industry trends, identify energy and water efficiency opportunities, and save money by tracking usage.

You can find more information on who needs to report and how to report at https://www.ontario.ca/reportenergywater

IMPORTANT EWRB UPDATES

For the 2020 reporting year, the Government of Ontario will accept the submission of data to the EWRB initiative until October 1, 2020.

Please note that the ministry has amended O. Reg. 506/18 to delay the roll-out of the Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking initiative to buildings between 50,000 and 100,000 square feet until 2023, allowing three additional years for small building owners to prepare for reporting their energy and water usage data.

Descriptive Transcript for video – What is a Cubic Metre?

The scene begins with upbeat, electronic pop music that plays throughout the entire video. There are no lyrics to the music.

At the top of the screen, the words “Water Management 101 – How do I tell how much water I use?” appear briefly in bold, black text. These words are panned off the screen upwardly and replaced with the image of a cube with “1 metre” appearing beside the height, width and length of the cube, showing that it is a 1 metre X 1 metre X 1 metre object. Below this image, the words “1 cubic metre (m3) = 1000 litres of water”.

Both the image of the cube and the text are swiped off the screen upwardly and replaced with the image of three disposable water bottles. Each of the water bottles has “500 ml” written on it. Below the image of the water bottles, the words “1 m3 is equal to 2000” appear, referring to the number of water bottles that 1 m3 of water will fill. The screen is then replaced with 5 columns of water bottles moving independently of one another, similarly to a slot machine.

A new screen is presented with a sky-blue background. The words “An average household uses 15 m3 of water each month” appear in white text, and then the words are swept off the screen and are replaced with the image of a toilet, with “3.8 m3 per month” appearing beside the toilet in black text.

This image is replaced by a running shower head on the left of the screen, with the sound of running water being projected over the electronic music, which continues. To the right of the shower head, the text “3.6 m3 per month” appear in white text over a red background, and at the bottom of the screen the words “Showers and Baths” appear in black text. The image of the shower head is then replaced by a bathtub, while the text does not change.

The scene changes to an animated image of a person washing his/her hands under a faucet. The words “Indoor Taps and Faucets” appear at the bottom of the screen, and the text “3.0 m3 per month” appears on the right side of the screen. The image of the person washing her/his hands is replaced by an animated image of a person brushing his/her teeth, and then the image of someone washing dishes in a sink. Running water can once again be heard.

The scene changes to an animated image of a clothes washer. The words “Clothes Washer and Dishwasher” appear at the bottom of the screen, and the text “2.8 m3 per month” appears above. The image of the clothes washer is then replaced by the image of a dishwasher, while the words and text remain on the screen.

A new screen appears with a dripping faucet on the right side, and the text “Watch out for leaks!” then appears in black text over blue background to the left of the dripping faucet.

The screen is wiped and the image of a water meter appears. The text “Every cubic metre counts” is superimposed over the water meter.

The image of a computer monitor is displayed in a new screenshot with a red background. The text “Visit My ServiceOttawa to manage your usage and alerts” is displayed on the screen. The image of the computer monitor is replaced with a screenshot of the myserviceottawa.ca login page, which then shows the water billing account overview page. Highlighted on the water billing account overview page is “Usage” and “Alert Subscriptions” on the left side, indicating that this is where someone would go to manage alerts and subscriptions.

The image is replaced by “myserviceottawa.ca” in white text over a red background as the only thing left of the page. This is then replaced by the City of Ottawa logo. The video concludes with the music stopping and the image of the City of Ottawa logo fading to black screen.

Descriptive Transcript Water Management 101 – Where can I find water leaks?

The scene begins with upbeat, electronic pop music that plays throughout the entire video. There are no lyrics to the music.

At the top of the screen, the words “Water Management 101 – Where can I find water leaks?” appear briefly in bold, black text. These words are panned off the screen upwardly and replaced with the image of a metal pail that is approximately half full of water and filling slowly by a water drip from above the pail. The sound of dripping water can be heard over the music. Text appears on the screen in black font – “Small household leaks can add up to large amounts of wasted water and money”

Both the image of the bucket and the text are swiped off the screen upwardly and replaced with the words “Notice unusual consumption? Check these common water leak sources first:”. These words are then zoomed out into the upper left part of the screen, and the image of a water meter appears below. A ticking sound can be heard over the music, similarly to a clock, indicating that the water meter is always spinning and recording water consumption.

A new screen is presented with the image of the face of a water meter. The face of the water meter shows a dial that continues to rotate clockwise and a 2-digit counter that continues to accumulate value. This counting water meter image remains fixed in the upper-left of the screen until the conclusion of the video, illustrating that water leaks never stop until they are identified and fixed.

The image of a toilet appears to the right of the moving water meter dial. The toilet appears to be leaking from underneath. The word “toilets” appear at the bottom of the screen in black text.

The image of the toilet is replaced by the images of a bathtub and a dual-basin sink to the right of the bathtub. Water appears to be running from the faucets in the bathtub and sink, with the sound of running water being projected over the electronic music. Water then appears to be leaking from both the bottom of the bathtub and the sink, pooling on the floor. The water meter dial never stops or slows down. At the bottom of the screen, the text “Sinks, showers and tubs” appears in black text.

The image of the bathtub and sink is then replaced with the image of an outdoor water sprinkler spraying water. Running water can once again be heard. The water meter dial keeps spinning. The digital counter keeps accumulating value. The words “Outdoor hoses, sprinklers and faucets” appears at the bottom of the screen. Below the water sprinkler is the image of pooling water from what appears to be a leak.

The image of the outdoor water sprinkler is then replaced with the image of a furnace humidifier. The water meter dial continues. The words “Furnace humidifiers” appear at the bottom of the screen. Below the furnace humidifier is the image of pooling water from what appears to be a leak.

The screen is wiped but the image of the running water meter dial remains fixed. The text “Every cubic metre counts” is displayed to the right of the water meter dial.

A new screen appears. The image of a computer monitor is displayed in a new screenshot with a red background. The text “Visit My Service Ottawa to manage your usage and alerts” is displayed on the screen. The image of the computer monitor is replaced with a screenshot of the my service.ottawa.ca login page, which then shows the water billing account overview page. Highlighted on the water billing account overview page is “Usage” and “Alert Subscriptions” on the left side, indicating that this is where someone would go to manage alerts and subscriptions.

The image is replaced by “my service.ottawa.ca” in white text over a red background as the only thing left of the page. This is then replaced by the City of Ottawa logo. The video concludes with the music stopping and the image of the City of Ottawa logo fading to black screen.

Video Transcript - Manage your water consumption

The Water Consumption video opens with a screenshot of the City of Ottawa logo.  Non-vocalized music plays in the background, with a digital keyboard and upscale beat.  The music is in a loop and repeats itself every few seconds.

As the City logo disappears, a new screen appears with an animated view of the Parliament building and pans to a nearby neighbourhood, zooming in on a specific home in which a character is looking down at his cell phone.

The narrator’s voice speaks “The City of Ottawa is making improvements to our online water, wastewater and stormwater billing service to let you monitor and manage your water consumption.”  The character image and narrator’s voice ends.

The screen title reads: “Manage your water consumption”, alongside a drawing of two water droplets.  The title drops down and ends.

The next image is a cell phone screen displaying the My ServiceOttawa login page, with an email address and password shown, in a series of dots.  The narrator’s voice remarks, “Simply log on to My ServiceOttawa to view your past and current water consumption monthly, daily and even hourly!”   The image ends.

Next a chart displays an example of water consumption information and then the screen quickly pans across three Water Usage charts displaying monthly, daily and hourly examples.  The charts end.

The screen cuts first to a water usage chart that compares the total usage of the current period to the previous annual billing period, by month.  It then cuts to the Alert subscription page.  The narrator’s voice states, “You can also compare your consumption to previous billing periods and set email alerts when you’re using more water than you’d like.”  The usage chart and alert subscription page close.

This quickly cuts to an image of a vibrating cell phone with a picture of a mail envelop showing a New Email Alert with the text: “City of Ottawa Water System notification.”  

The narrator’s voice remarks “Plus, be notified when there are any issues with your water system including meter equipment failures or water leaks, so you can fix the problem promptly and ensure accurate billing.”  The phone alert closes.

The accompanying screen shows an Equipment Failure Notification addressed to John Doe that reads: “Dear John Doe, Our records indicate a failure of your water metering equipment located at 1 MAIN ST.  As a result, we are no longer able to read your metered consumption.”

Cut to the next screen showing a Water Consumption Alert to John Doe that reads: “Dear John Doe, Our water consumption records for 1 MAIN ST indicate you have consumed 60% of your average monthly water consumption. Property owners should investigate any unexpected change in water consumption to check for plumbing problems, leaks or unmonitored running water”.  The notification texts close.

The text screen: “myservice.ottawa.ca” appears as the narrator’s voice states “To access these new tools, simply log in to the My ServiceOttawa website.”  The text screen ends.

A new screen appears showing the Ottawa.ca/wws contact information and the narrator’s voice suggests “Have questions?  Call or visit us online for more information.

To close, the narrator’s voice announces, “It’s just one of the ways we are serving you better.”  The contact information and the narrator’s voice ends.

The City Logo appears on the last screen.  The music and the Water Consumption video ends.