Ottawa Water Rates Growing Faster Than Any Other Ontario City


The enemy of best is good, 2.5 is good, but is it the best that Ottawa can do? There seems to be no incentives to achieve best by reducing the growth water user fees. Pipes are a core service, but the “No New Money” promise, implies that funds should come from smart meter efficiencies or the uploading windfall or other departments or outsourcing or innovation. An above 2.5% water rate increase is a broken campaign expectation.


From 2002 to 2010, water rates have risen by 125% to $1.276 per cubic metre in Ottawa, total revenue rose by 59.7% and population by 27.5%, this simply means that residents are being gouged for using less water.


No one can argue with replacing old water mains, but surely other cities face similar challenges, so why does it seem like Ottawa is raising fees faster than anyone else. A large cities comparison of the Ontario FIR reports on water user fees by population from 2002 to 2010 yielded the following results:

Ottawa 25%
Toronto 15%
York 13%
Peel  -1%
Halton 16%


Ottawa promised that after spending $25 million dollars on installing all smart water meters by 2012, there would be a reduction in the number of water reading employees and they would be transferred to other city departments. Toronto promised a similar staff reduction savings of 15% of their water smart meter installation cost, Ottawa should therefore have a yearly savings of about 4 million from their compensation budget, where is the money?


Toronto also planned to save 10% of their water smart meter installation cost through more accurate billing, this means Ottawa should save $2.5 million, where is the money?


The old technology cost $16 million yearly to maintain, we were told the new system would be less costly to maintain, where is the money?


Ade Olumide
President, Municipal Taxpayer Advocacy Group