The City of Ottawa is developing a new rate structure to fund its water, wastewater and stormwater services. These services, taken together, make sure Ottawa’s residents and businesses have safe, clean drinking water, that sewage gets properly treated at a treatment plant, protecting the safety of our rivers and streams, and that watermain breaks and boil water advisories are kept to a minimum. They make sure that, when it rains or when snow melts, the water drains safely, our streets aren’t washed out or eroded, and our basements stay dry. City Council invests in those services every year when they set the water, wastewater and stormwater budgets. Once the budget is set, all costs related to the these services are apportioned to those people that pay for water (i.e. those who are connected to the City’s water and wastewater systems) by means of a formula known as the rate structure.

For the first time since 2001, the City is proposing to change the rate structure. This change is needed to ensure that revenues needed to operate and maintain Ottawa’s water, wastewater and stormwater services are stable, and correctly aligned to each service –allowing residents to clearly see what they are paying for. The recommended new structure is based on research, municipal best practices and the feedback from over 800 people that participated in the consultations in the spring of 2016.

If approved by City Council, instead of a water charge and sewer surcharge on the water bill, there will be three fees: for water, for wastewater and for stormwater.

The proposed new water, wastewater and stormwater rate structure is much more refined than the current rate structure, in response to public feedback. The City has created a number of tools to help you determine what it would mean for your household or business if the proposed new structure is adopted by Council:

  • A list of Frequently Asked Questions 
  • A Chart comparing what four different properties pay now versus what they would pay under the proposed new rate structure

The specific changes that staff is recommending to Council is summarized in the rest of this document. To get the full details, history and analysis, you can read the full staff report, titled Recommended Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater Rate Structure.  Because City staff took the initial proposals to the public for feedback, we are reporting back on how that feedback is reflected in what is being proposed to Council.

At the request of the Mayor and Environment Committee Chair David Chernushenko, and again, in response to public feedback, staff is releasing the draft report early to give residents and Councillors extra time to review and consider it.

If you would like to give us feedback on this proposal, please send an email to  For the complete outline, please go directly to: