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Ward 5 Public Consultation on Water Rate Structure Review June 17th

The City of Ottawa is currently reviewing how we bill for water services and we're looking for your input. The City wants to ensure that it is still serving the needs of our residents and businesses, while still providing the funding necessary for exceptional services.

Residents are encouraged to take the City's water rate structure review survey here. It only takes five minutes to complete.

We'll also be hosting a public consultation event, specifically for West Carleton-March (Ward 5) residents, to provide more information on the review and gather your input.

It's set for June 17, 2024, at the West Carleton Community Complex, 5670 Carp Road, from 6:30 – 9:30 pm. You can register for this in-person event here. Councill

Why is the City reviewing the water rate structure?

The City wants to make sure that we continue to bill appropriately for the necessary water services we provide to residents. The review aims to align with these six principles: 

  • Fairness and equity   

  • Affordability    

  • Transparency   

  • Financial sustainability   

  • Support economic development  

  • Promote conservation  

Water, wastewater and fire supply

Today, the costs to deliver water and wastewater services are recovered through 20 percent from fixed charges and 80 percent from water usage. One of the challenges the City faces is that when there is more conservation, the high reliance on variable cost recovery may lead to inadequate cost recovery; however, the costs required to deliver these services remain the same. To balance water conservation with the cost of delivering services, the City of Ottawa is exploring ways to change how fees are charged.


One of the recommendations the City is exploring is using impervious surfaces captured using aerial imagery as the basis for allocating stormwater charges. Impervious surfaces are areas on a property considered highly resistant to water absorption, such as pavement, asphalt, concrete, brick, building material and structure rooftops.

Although Council preferred the use of impervious surfaces in previous reviews, the lack of readily available data led to the use of property assessment as the measure for allocating stormwater charges for non-residential properties. With technological advancements, City staff can now revisit this cost allocation approach.

Stormwater information for rural properties

In the rural area, drainage is comprised of both municipal drains paid for by each property owner and stormwater services funded by the City’s stormwater charges.

There are over 700 municipal drains in Ottawa which remove excess water from private lands. Most municipal drains are located on private rural agricultural lands and are either ditches or closed systems such as pipes or tiles buried in the ground. Maintenance costs for the drains are recovered from the property owners benefiting from each drain and are not included in the stormwater rate.

In addition to municipal drains, Ottawa’s rural communities benefit from stormwater funded services such as ditches and culverts which divert runoff, prevent roads and buildings from flooding and preserve topsoil and nutrients on farmland. Some rural communities, where there is a higher density of properties (e.g. villages), may also benefit from underground stormwater infrastructure.

The rural stormwater system is comprised of wet ponds, dry ponds, oil and grit separators, inlet control structures and stormwater infrastructure including:

  • 151 km of stormwater pipe drains

  • 4,798 km of ditches

  • 4,109 catch basins

  • more than 5,300 small and medium culverts

The ongoing review seeks to ensure equitable billing for all properties, including all rural areas.

Accessible formats and communication supports are available, upon request.

For questions, contact our office at



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