November 6, 2020

Toronto Water’s key priorities are delivering clean, safe drinking water, treating wastewater, and managing stormwater in an environmentally and fiscally responsible way for the city’s residents, businesses and visitors. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Toronto Water has provided uninterrupted critical services to residents and businesses. Toronto Water is recommending a 2021 capital budget of $1.3 billion – the largest capital program delivered by Toronto Water in its history – and a 10-year capital plan (2021 to 2030) of $14.8 billion. It is important to ensure the City can continue to provide quality drinking water and wastewater treatment services while dealing with the impact of extreme storms, aging infrastructure and significant growth.

Toronto Water service overview

  • Provides approximately 435 billion litres of safe drinking water to more than 3.6 million residents and businesses in Toronto and portions of York Region annually.
  • Collects and treats approximately approximately 400 billion litres of wastewater (from sources including toilets, dishwashers and washing machines) every year.
  • Protects the environment and private property, including basement flooding protection, from stormwater runoff resulting from rain and melted snow. In 2013, Toronto City Council approved the Basement Flooding Protection Program that increased basement flooding study areas from 31 in 2006 to 67. A total of 42 study areas have now been completed; 25 are ongoing, of which one will be completed in 2020. Twenty-four new studies were initiated in 2019 and will be completed in 2022 and 2023.
  • These major multi-year capital projects (total value of approximately $651 million) will begin in 2020/2021:
  • Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant: State-of-good-repair projects including the Polymer and Waste Activated Sludge Upgrades Construction
  • Humber Treatment Plant: Process Upgrades Construction
  • Highland Creek Treatment Plant: Biosolids Management Upgrades
  • Trunk Sewer Program: Black Creek Sanitary Trunk Sewer Engineering
  • Underground Infrastructure: Downsview Transmission Main Construction
  • Basement Flooding: Fairbanks Silverthorn Tunnel Construction

Budget overview

The recommended 2021 Toronto Water budget consists of:

  • an operating budget of $468.8 million plus a capital reserve contribution of $946.5 million for a total operating budget of $1.4 billion.
  • a capital budget of $1.3 billion (gross) (spent on water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure projects).
  • a capital reserve used for construction of new assets and the development and renewal of existing infrastructure.
  • 10-year (2021 – 2030) capital plan of $14.8 billion includes:
  • $4.4 billion for water treatment and supply
  • $6.1 billion for wastewater treatment and collection, including:
    • $3.28 billion for wastewater treatment plant upgrades;
    • $2.03 billion for sewer replacement and rehabilitation, and trunk sewer rehabilitation.
  • $4.32 billion for stormwater management, including:
    • $1.42 billion for Don River and Central Waterfront Connected Projects
    • $2.20 billion Basement Flooding Protection program

Rate overview

  • As a result of COVID-19 and the financial challenges being faced by Toronto residents and businesses, the 2021 Toronto Water operating budget recommends a 1.5 per cent rate increase rather than the planned three per cent rate increase.
  • The 1.5 per cent rate increase supports the City’s reopening, recovery and rebuild efforts related to the effects of COVID-19. At the same time Toronto Water will continue to ensure the City can continue to provide quality drinking water and wastewater treatment services, while dealing with the impact of extreme storms, aging infrastructure and significant City growth.
  • To manage the impacts of a 1.5 per cent rate increase compared to the originally planned 3.0 per cent, adjustments were made to the operating budget through a combination of efficiencies and offsets with no impact or deferrals to the 2021 recommended capital program.
  • The 1.5 per cent rate increase ensures that critical water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure work carries on as planned and supports the need for ongoing economic activity in Toronto during COVID-19.
  • The 1.5 per cent rate increase will not impact service levels. Toronto Water will continue to provide services to protect public health, safety and property in a fiscally and environmentally responsible manner.
  • Toronto water remains affordable and is an excellent value.
  • For the average Toronto household using 230 cubic metres of water per year, costs in 2021 will be as follows:
      • projected average daily cost of $2.61 (a daily 4-cent increase from 2020)
      • projected annual cost of $951(a $14 annual increase from 2020)

Key opportunities for 2021

Program 2021 10-Year Plan
Infrastructure State of Good Repair funding* $679 million $6.8 billion
Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrades $ 380.1 million $3.28 billion
Watermain and Sewer (including trunk mains) $ 338.0 million $4.25 billion
Don River & Central Waterfront & Connected Projects $ 77.2 million $1.417 billion
Basement Flooding Protection Program $ 149.9 million $2.204 billion

*Toronto Water’s budget calls for state-of-good-repair funding of $679 million in 2021 and $6.8 billion in the 10-year plan, eliminating all but $132.304 million of the backlog by 2030.

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