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October 22, 2002
Toronto Water Board Protecting our water for generations to come
  
The City of Toronto has achieved international recognition for delivering
affordable, clean water and wastewater services to 2.5 million residents and
businesses in Toronto, as well as residents and businesses in Peel and York
Regions.

Recent initiatives, such as the Works Best Practices and District Service
Improvement Programs, represent a $200 million investment in water and
wastewater state-of-the-art technology and in modernizing work and management
practices. However, billions of dollars still need to be invested in upgrading
the ageing infrastructure.

"The status quo is no longer an option," said Mayor Mel Lastman explaining that
more than 50 per cent of Toronto's water distribution system and about 30 per
cent of its sewer system is greater than 50 years old. "The current replacement
program has not kept pace with demand, reserves are almost depleted and rates
are nowhere near the actual costs of the system."

"Capital Budget Pressures on the water rate will increase from $240 million (in
2003) to over $500 million in 3 years. With these kinds of pressures we need a
Toronto Water Board that can develop an aggressive, and long-term capital
funding strategy," said Deputy Mayor and Toronto-Danforth Councillor Case
Ootes.

"Water is one of our most precious resources and warrants the focused attention
and leadership that a dedicated service board can bring," said Works Committee
Chair and Scarborough Centre Councillor Brad Duguid. "The proposed Toronto
Water Board keeps water and wastewater services firmly in the public domain,
accountable and accessible to City Council and the public."

Last fall Council directed the CAO's office to review public sector governance
options to ensure that water and wastewater services are provided with a view
to long-term needs.

A staff report delivered in June 2002 recommended a dedicated Toronto Water
Board as the best option for managing the $500 million a year water and
wastewater operation as well as preserving infrastructure assets estimated at
$20 billion. The City of Toronto remains the employer of water and wastewater
staff and Council would appoint citizens and councillors to the Board based on
their experience and professional expertise.

The proposed service board will be discussed at a public information session on
November 6 and at the joint Policy & Finance/Works Committee meeting on
November 19, 2002. Members of the public can obtain the full report
http://www.toronto.ca/involved/utilitystudy/ and register to speak by
contacting the Clerk's Division 416-392-8027.

Backgrounder 1 of 3:

Toronto Water Board (TWB) - Transition Workplan

Key Dates:

December 2002
  • Transition Team appointed
    April 2003
  • City Council appoints TWB Board members; orientation period begins
    July 2003
  • Board holds first meeting; adopts Procedural, Financial Control and
    Purchasing By-laws
  • Board initiates search for permanent GM

    Transition Team:

    Purpose
    To oversee the transition year of the TWB

    Role
  • Develop operational procedures and bylaws
  • Communicate with staff, customers, city departments and other levels of
    government
  • Develop the 2004 operating and capital budgets
  • Develop the Board's administrative functions (e.g. develop the capacity
    within the TWB to carry out purchasing and other required administrative
    functions)

    Composition
  • General Manager of Water and Wastewater Services to lead Team
  • Team of 4 to 6 staff with specific expertise in finance, legal matters,
    organizational effectiveness, communications

    Reporting Relationship
  • Transition Team to report to the CAO
  • CAO to be assisted by a Steering Committee comprising Commissioners of
    WES, Finance and Corporate Services

    Cost
    It is estimated that transition team costs will be $760,000 which is less than
    0.02 per cent of the Water and Wastewater operating budget.

    Backgrounder 2 of 3:

    Toronto Water Board

    1. Focussed Planning to meet long-term needs of water and wastewater services

  • able to concentrate solely on water and wastewater issues
  • can develop an aggressive and long-term capital funding strategy
  • has the flexibility to adapt to rapidly changing demands such as new
    regulations under the Safe Drinking Water Act
  • has the will to make hard decisions on full cost recovery and
  • has the ability to develop and implement measures to ensure long-term
    operational and fiscal sustainability.

    2. Public Control and Ownership

  • water assets and services will continue to be owned by the City
  • City of Toronto continues to be the employer of the water and wastewater
    workforce.

    3. Accountability and Transparency

  • board comprised of both Councillors and citizens appointed by Council
  • City approves plans, rates and budgets
  • limits on authority delegated to board
  • stringent reporting requirements imposed
  • meetings and agendas are open to the public
  • continued citizen input and participation
  • Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and
    Municipal Conflict of Interest Act continue to apply.

    Backgrounder 3 of 3:
    Water and Wastewater Services

  • Water and Wastewater Services is currently a division of the Works and
    Emergency Services Department.

  • It supplies drinking water to 2.5 million Toronto residences and
    businesses and collects and treats all wastewater, both sewage and stormwater.
    The Division also supplies water on a wholesale basis to York Region and treats
    wastewater for a portion of Peel Region and the Greater Toronto Airport
    Authority.

  • The City of Toronto's water consistently meets or exceeds federal and
    provincial guidelines and a change in governance will not affect the operations
    of water and waste water services or the quality of Toronto's drinking water.

  • The Division operates four water treatment plants, four wastewater
    treatment plants, two central laboratories, seven plant-specific laboratories,
    18 water-pumping stations and 45 wastewater-pumping stations. There are over
    5,000 kms of watermains in the City's water distribution system and about
    10,000 kms for wastewater collection.

  • The Division employs over 1,600 workers represented by CUPE Locals 79 and
    416.

  • The Water and Wastewater 2002 operating budget was approved at $486.3
    million and the capital budget was $271.0 million.

  • Toronto's is the largest combined water and wastewater operation in
    Canada and the fifth-largest in North America.

    How are water and wastewater services funded?

    The Division's revenues are derived from user fees for water consumption and
    sewage treatment.


    What is the status of the City's piped water and wastewater infrastructure?

    More than 50 per cent of the City's water distribution system and about 30 per
    cent of the sewer system is greater than 50 years old (8 per cent of the
    watermain network and 3 per cent of the sewer system are more than 100 years
    old).





    Media Contact
    Deputy Mayor Case Ootes
    416-392-4032

    Works Committee Chair Brad Duguid
    416-716-6723 cell or 416-392-0204

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