Toronto Water

Binational Action on Protecting the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI) is a binational coalition of 131 American and Canadian mayors working with a wide array of stakeholders to protect and restore the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
 
I am honoured to serve as the Mayor's designate to the GLSLCI. Their notable initiatives include efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, incorporate innovative technology in conservation strategies, and manage invasive species such as zebra mussels and Asian carp. Their work is critical, as the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River contain over 21% of the world's freshwater supply and provide drinking water for over 40 million people.
 
At the GLSLCI 2018 Conference in June, I represented the City of Toronto in discussions on extreme weather events, flooding, coastal resilience, and green infrastructure. As Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, I'm committed to supporting initiatives undertaken by the GLSLCI to advance the protection of our shared freshwater resources. At Committee, I recently moved to accelerate the rehabilitation of the Don River and Central Waterfront, a first step towards delisting Toronto as a polluted "Area of Concern" in the Great Lakes.
 
You can read more about my efforts to clean up the Don River, here. For more information about initiatives related to climate change, invasive species, and microplastics, check out the GLSLCI website, here.

 As the Mayor's designate to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI),  I met with municipal leaders from across North America at the Annual Conference in June, including (from left to right) Mayor Paul Dyster of Niagara Falls, NY, Mayor Bonnie Crombie of Mississauga, and GLSLCI President John Dickert, former Mayor of Racine, WI.

As the Mayor's designate to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI),  I met with municipal leaders from across North America at the Annual Conference in June, including (from left to right) Mayor Paul Dyster of Niagara Falls, NY, Mayor Bonnie Crombie of Mississauga, and GLSLCI President John Dickert, former Mayor of Racine, WI.

Tips to Save Water This Summer

In response to the recent heat wave, Toronto Water is reminding residents that there are steps they can take to conserve water and reduce their utility bill during summer, the season of highest water use.
 
Toronto Water customers can use the City of Toronto's online water use tool, MyWaterToronto, to better understand their water use and to learn about strategies to save water and money. MyWaterToronto can even be used to check for leaks, which tend to add up very quickly when water usage is high. According to Carlo Casale, Manager of Customer Care at Toronto Water, even a small 1.5-millimetre hole in a pipe can add more than $13 to your utility bill each day.
 
Customers who receive a utility bill can access the tool by visiting http://www.toronto.ca/mywatertoronto and entering their utility account information. The tool can be used to track water use by day, week, month or year.
 
In addition to fixing leaks, other ways to save water during the summer include:

  • Using rainwater to water your grass and gardens.
  • Planting native plants and trees, which are low maintenance and naturally drought-tolerant.
  • Sweeping sidewalks and driveways clean instead of using a running hose.
  • Using a rain gauge to keep track of rainfall – healthy lawns only need 2.5 centimetres of water once a week.
    • If you have an irrigation system, set your system to come on once or twice a week, or install rain sensors.
  • Watering lawns in the morning to reduce evaporation.
    • Laying mulch can also help retain moisture and insulate roots from heat stress.
  • Setting your lawn mower to cut 6 to 7.5 centimetres - mowing high helps to strengthen the roots and retain water and nutrients.
  • Keeping a jug of water in the fridge instead of running the tap to draw cold drinking water.

 For more water conservation tips, visit http://www.toronto.ca/water.

G. Ross Lord Dam Emergency Preparedness Plan

Located along the West Don River, the G. Ross Lord Dam has been an important mechanism for flood control and water flow management since the 1970's. In February, I spoke at an open house organized by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) to discuss safeguarding against flood risks and to update the Hoggs Hollow neighborhood on the emergency procedures in place. In cooperation with the City of Toronto Office of Emergency Management, the TRCA has updated their Emergency Preparedness Plan with enhanced emergency protocols, mapping and public notification procedures relating to flooding in the area. This plan incorporates best practices that are in line with the Canadian Dam Association.
 
For more information on the G. Ross Lord Dam, visit the TRCA here.

 It was great to speak to Hoggs Hollow residents at the TRCA's G. Ross Lord Dam Emergency Preparedness Open House.

It was great to speak to Hoggs Hollow residents at the TRCA's G. Ross Lord Dam Emergency Preparedness Open House.

Municipal Stewardship of the Great Lakes

In December, I was honoured to welcome mayors and municipal leaders from across Canada and the U.S. to Toronto for the mid-year meeting of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSCI). The GLSCI is a binational coalition of 131 mayors from Ontario, Quebec, and the eight American Great Lakes states who advocate for the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. The Great Lakes are a critical and irreplaceable resource, and I was inspired by the GLSCI's commitment to their continued protection.
 
The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River contain approximately 20% of the world's freshwater supply and provide drinking water for over 40 million people. The impacts of the Lakes are so broad that it is necessary to collaborate across national and regional boundaries to ensure their protection. The GLSCI's notable initiatives include efforts to ban the production and distribution of products containing microbeads, mitigate the impacts of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, incorporate innovative technology in conservation strategies, and manage invasive species such as zebra mussels and Asian carp.
 
In Toronto, we are undertaking various initiatives of our own to protect the Great Lakes water system. For example, a 25-year, multibillion dollar infrastructure project is currently underway to reduce combined sewer overflow (CSO) in the Don River as a part of the City's Wet Weather Flow Master Plan. Most combined sewers were constructed as long as a century ago, and utilize one pipe to carry both sewage and stormwater. Usually this combined water is diverted to wastewater treatment plants, however, during periods of intense rainfall, the volume of water may exceed the system's capacity. In this circumstance, untreated sewage and garbage water will be deposited, untreated, into creeks, rivers, and Lake Ontario. This process can pollute our freshwater lakes with bacteria, pathogens, heavy metals, oils, pesticides, and nutrients which can cause undesired algae growth. The City is currently in Stage One of a five-stage program that aims to virtually eliminate CSO. This project serves as an example of how activities under the purview of individual municipalities can have a massive impact on a shared resource, the Great Lakes.

I am committed to advancing Toronto's legacy of leadership in freshwater conservation initiatives. In order to do so, we must continue to collaborate with municipalities across the continent through avenues such as the GLSCI. Stewardship of this invaluable freshwater resource is our collective responsibility.

 As Chair of Public Works, I was honoured to welcome mayors & local leaders from across the continent to discuss the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes.

As Chair of Public Works, I was honoured to welcome mayors & local leaders from across the continent to discuss the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes.