Updated: Apr 5
Wednesday, March 22, is World Water Day. This International Day of Recognition was established to highlight the importance and sustainability f fresh water. Access to freshwater affects all aspects of our lives, including drinking water, sanitation, public health and safety, and our environment.
Accelerating change is this year’s theme, to address many parts of the world that have water and sanitation crises. We have a lot to be grateful for, living in the City of Ottawa, including access to clean and safe drinking water. Let’s explore the journey of how our world-class water is produced.
The Journey of Water in Ottawa
The main and central water system is sourced from the Ottawa River. Our practices are environmentally friendly and sustainable, extracting only 1% of the river’s flow.
The water passes through one of our Water Purification Plants at Britannia or Lemieux Island. At these plants, our water will undergo a robust and complex treatment process to produce our top-quality potable water. We perform over 100,000 tests on our drinking water each year!
The City of Ottawa’s water underground, linear systems comprise of more than 3,000 km of pipes, lines, and services. We distribute our pristine water to 950,000 households and businesses. Our water is safe to drink, right from the tap!
While we simplified this complex process in the three steps above, it’s important to raise awareness, that that’s only half the battle. On World Water Day, we highlight our commitment to protect the water environment by effectively managing stormwater and treating the wastewater prior to returning it back to the Ottawa River.
Without a healthy water environment, many services that residents rely on would be at risk, from our drinking water to leisure activities like swimming at our Ottawa beaches. The Infrastructure and Water Service Department (IWSD) ensures essential stormwater and wastewater procedures are in place to sustain the quality of our water systems. IWSD has developed our wastewater systems to return water to the Ottawa River, as clean, or even cleaner, after use. Our practices protect public health, prevent disease, and even recycle the nutrients of our wastewater to be used by our agricultural partners. Our stormwater management team has evolved to not only manage run offs from seasonal snow melts and heavy rain, but also leverage technology to limit pollutants from running off into our waterways.
Ottawa can be proud of our commitment to protecting the environment and public health. Our extensive water protection, environmental sustainability, and mitigating safety measures, show our dedication to thriving communities and building trust with our residents. We must continue to be vigilant to care for our environment and keep our lakes and rivers free of waste. It takes a collective effort to protect a resource, as valuable as our water. Every action makes a difference!
How can residents engage with us on World Water Day?
Learn more about our drinking water at Ottawa.ca. Let’s build awareness about water purification, quality, and distribution, as well as some of our initiatives related to drinking water and water conservation.
Protect your infrastructure! Read up on our wastewater education. Learning what can and cannot be drained and flushed will save homeowners money and protect our infrastructure.
Use our water! Your reusable water bottle can be filled 400 times for $1 and keeps plastics out of our landfills and rivers. Looking for a place to fill up? Check out our Find-a-Fountain Tool.
Find out more ways to make a change in your community or in the world by taking action and raising awareness. Check out www.worldwaterday.org to find out how you can help accelerate change!