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June 15, 2000
Backgrounder -- Outdoor Water Efficiency and New Summer Outdoor Water Use Policy
The City of Toronto is developing a Water Efficiency Plan to help reduce the
amount of water and wastewater generated by the city. Toronto must make sure
that its water supply system can meet the demands of residents and businesses
on the maximum (or peak) demand day. By reducing water use and lowering the
maximum day demand, the city is able to defer capital works spending. Maximum
day water demand is associated with prolonged periods of little or no
precipitation, which results in a high volume of outdoor water use for
landscape irrigation.

Facts about Toronto's water and wastewater systems
  • The current design capacity of Toronto's water supply system is about 2,100 million litres per day.
  • In 1999, Toronto average annual day water demand was 1,500 million litres.
  • In 1999, the maximum day water demand rose to 2,220 million litres.
  • A 1998 agreement between the City of Toronto and the Region of York states that the city will provide the region with up to an average day water supply of 259 million litres per day and a maximum day water supply of 440 million litres.
  • Toronto's maximum day water consumption hit a ten-year high of 2,338 million litres in 1991.
  • Over the last five years, Toronto's average maximum day water consumption has been 2,052 million litres.

Public can help city avoid water use advisories:
There are a number of easy outdoor water efficiency behaviours people can adopt
to reduce their outdoor water consumption. If everyone pitches in, the city
will not need to issue an Outdoor Water Use Advisory nor will it need to
implement costly capital works expansions of the water supply system.

10 Tips to Outdoor Water Efficiency:
  • Pay attention to the weather. If it has rained recently, keep the sprinkler in the tool shed. Be sure to water during the off-peak hours of 11:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.
  • Water off peak by using an automatic sprinkler timer. One is included in the city's Peak Pail, available for $15 (call 392-4546 for purchasing details).
  • Lawns need about 2.5 cm (1 inch) of water every week. Use a rain gauge to keep track of the water falling on your lawn from both your sprinkler and rain.
  • Pick up a free rain gauge at Access Toronto counters in all city civic centres, City Hall and Metro Hall. Leave grass clippings on your lawn; they provide natural nutrients and water.
  • Recycle your rain. Disconnect your home's eavestrough downspout from the sewer system and install a rain barrel.
  • Use the water collected in your rain barrel for lawn and garden watering. Get the work done free; call Toronto's Downspout Disconnection Program, 416-392-1807 for details.
  • Use a broom, not a water hose, to sweep up debris or clean your sidewalks and driveway.
  • Fill a small pool for kids to play in rather than running your sprinkler for hours during the heat of the day.
  • Take a break; skip washing your car during hot spells.
  • Try planting vegetation that requires little watering. Ask at your garden centre for details.

Media Contact
Access Toronto



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