Water By-Law Review

We have completed a comprehensive review of our existing Water Works By-law and drafted a new Water By-law. We are now seeking feedback from the public before we send it to City Council for consideration.

Why prepare a new draft by-law?

The existing Water Works By-law No. 504/73 passed by City Council, November 7, 1973, required a thorough review and update.  We worked with a consultant to review water by-laws from other major Canadian cities and used this information as the basis for preparing the new draft Water By-law.

The new draft Water By-law will:

  • protect public health by enhancing measures to safeguard the City’s waterworks system and the high quality of our drinking water,
  • add clarity for enforcement,
  • update the by-law format to be consistent with The City of Winnipeg Charter, Manitoba By-law writing styles, and the Sewer By-law No. 92/2010,
  • make it easier to understand through user-friendly language.

What are some of the major revisions?

  1. Adding non-conforming water service pipe 1 requirements.This provision would impact a small number of property owners, as the majority of water service pipes are conforming. Professional engineers and licensed water contractors should be aware of this provision. This ensures that water service pipes are installed conventionally and avoids potential disputes in the future (e.g., impact of water leaks).Financial impact to the property owner includes the cost of abandoning the non-conforming water service pipe and installing a conforming water service pipe that would connect to the new fronting water main.See Part 6 – Connection Requirements for more information.
  2. Adding “moderate” 2 hazard buildings to require premises isolation 3This provision would impact business property owners, licensed backflow testers and plumbing contractors. This further protects the City’s drinking water.Financial impacts to the business property owner include:
    • the cost of installing an approved backflow prevention device, estimated in the range of $2,000 and $10,000 per device, and sometimes greater depending on the situation,
    • annual testing of each device, estimated at $150 and up, depending on the number of devices.

    See Part 7 – Backflow and Cross-Connection Controls for more information.

  3. Increasing restrictions and clarifying permit conditions for the use of public and private fire hydrants.The fire hydrant permit process would impact independent contractors and other City Departments. The Fire Department and licensed fire hydrant testers under the Fire Prevention By-law are excluded from this provision. These restrictions further protect the quality of the City’s drinking water and reduce hydrant maintenance issues.See Part 8 – Fire Hydrants for more information.
  4. Requiring water meter installations to follow new standard detail drawings.This provision would impact builders, licensed plumbing contractors and backflow testers. This ensures new water meters are installed using a standardized approach that would improve safety and access.See Part 9 – Water Meters and Other Devices for more information.
  5. Significantly increasing fines for by-law violations from the existing $50 maximum fine.Default fines, proposed in Part 11, mirror the Sewer By-law:
    • first offence fine of $1,000 to $50,000,
    • second offence fine of $5,000 to $100,000 and
    • third offence fine of $10,000 to $250,000.

    Minimum fines, proposed in Schedule A, range from $250 to $500 with a discounted amount for early payment.

    This provision would impact all stakeholders. This provision is designed to enhance the overall protection of public health and water quality.

    See Part 11 and Schedule A for more information.

To learn more about the recommended revisions, please see the Documents and Reports section

Let us know what you think

We invite you to attend a public meeting on the new draft Water By-law.

Location: Masonic Memorial Temple, 420 Corydon Avenue

Date Wed. November 26, 2014 Thurs. November 27, 2014
Registration and coffee 5:30 – 6:00 pm 9:00 – 9:30 am
Presentation 6:00 – 6:30 pm 9:30 – 10:00 am
Question & answer period 6:30 – 7:30 pm 10:00 – 11:00 am

Provide us with your comments by Friday January 16, 2015.


Item # Task Completion Date
1. Public Meetings November 26 & 27, 2014
2. Deadline for Stakeholder Comments January 16, 2015
3. Public Participation Report March 2015
4. Revisions to New Draft Water By-law January – May 2015
5. Report to City Council October 2015
6. New Water By-law comes into effect January 1, 2016

1 A non-conforming water service pipe is a water service pipe that is not connected to a fronting water main

2 moderate hazards are typically found in office buildings, schools, shopping malls, and high-rise buildings.

3 premises isolation is the separation of a customer’s private water system from the City’s public drinking water by installing an approved backflow preventer so that water from a building cannot flow back into the City’s public drinking water system

26 comments on “Water By-Law Review
  1. Gary Dikkema says:

    Why nothing about frozen water lines? Or better yet the many occurrences of brown water.

  2. Gabriele Martens says:

    I was hoping the issue of flouride in our water would be addressed.
    1) forcing everyone to consume flouride is immoral. Anyone who wishes to consume it may do so, but there must be a choice.
    2) forced medication is against human rights.
    3) if people are worried about tooth decay, add it to sugary drinks that cause it.
    4) Nobel peace prize winners and Harvard professors among others are constantly speaking up against flouride. It’s time for us to listen.

    I’m looking forward to a day in Winnipeg where we are not forced to ingest toxic industial waste.

  3. Alan Sellen RMT says:

    Maybe it is time for a class action lawsuit against the City of Winnipeg for poisoning us against our will by dumping this toxic waste into our drinking water. The nuclear industry bought and paid for the study which “proved” that fluoride prevented tooth decay. Then they tricked the public health authorities across North America to BUY their toxic waste to add to the water supply so that they wouldn’t have to pay to process and decontaminate it themselves. There are now dozens of peer reviewed studies showing that not only does fluoride not prevent tooth decay but that it has numerous cytotoxic effects especially on infants and children’s neurological development. I only use distilled water for cooking and drinking, unfortunately, you breathe in fluorine gas when it aerosolizes in the shower. We need better water filtration and UVC (Ultraviolet C wavelength light) disinfection of our water to minimize the amount of chlorine needed for disinfection and total elimination of fluorine.

  4. Zoe Pouliot says:

    The “few” homes this would affect refers to homes in which area? First guess is older homes in areas like Scotia, Weston, Deer Lodge, River Heights, Old St. Vital…..doesn’t seem like “a few” and seems like some homeowners will be having to foot the bill twice for maintaining City infrastructure (once through property taxes, and again when the contractor is tearing up the old lines). Stinks to me!

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your comment Zoe.

      The number of locations that are currently serviced with a non-conforming private water service pipe is estimated at less than 0.5%, meaning the majority of properties are serviced with a water service pipe that is connected to a fronting water main.

  5. C Davis says:

    Or having raw sewage back up into your basement forcing a home insurance claim and YOU being penalized for it because the company the CITY CONTRACTED to do the work was negligent. Oh – and then having to wait 60 days for a decision, which may still lead to an even longer fight for funds as I may have to PERSONALLY go after the CONTRACTED company?? I pay taxes to the CITY.

  6. E. H. says:

    I am disappointed that the water by-law review doesn’t make the occupants of a property responsible for the water bills, rather than the property owner. When the city is regularly billing someone for water use on a property, why are the property owners stuck with any unpaid amounts? The city already has an account and billing history for the occupants. How is this different than if the cable TV companies want to charge the property owner for overdue amounts instead of their actual customer whom they’ve been billing? I think the city is simply taking the easy way out and charging the property owner. This seems a clear-cut case of a ‘user-fee’ system that the city is circumventing because simply because they can get away with it.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your comment E.H.

      Although tenants may be the consumers of the water, under section 41 of the City of Winnipeg Neighborhood Liveability By-Law, landlords are required to ensure that running water is available to every dwelling.

      Landlords may find it beneficial to place the water bill in their name and collect water charges from their tenant as a condition of their lease agreement. This would ensure landlords know on a more timely basis whether the tenant is meeting this obligation of their tenancy.

      By adding unpaid water charges to property taxes, the City helps ensure fairness to all rate payers by reducing bad debts.

      Landlords can register with the utility, and we will work with them to keep them up to date on the status of the accounts for their rental units.

      More information for landlords is available at http://www.winnipeg.ca/waterandwaste/dept/landlord.stm

  7. Jonathon Hare says:

    Water bills should follow the occupants like every other bill out there (Hydro, phone, internet, cable, etc). The city takes the easy way out by billing property owners, which should not be allowed. This allows cheating tenants to get away without paying, and causes honest people to foot the bill. Essentially it means good tenants pay the added business costs of bad tenants who do not pay their bills. And adds frustration to everyone.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your comment Jonathon.

      Although tenants may be the consumers of the water, under section 41 of the City of Winnipeg Neighborhood Liveability By-Law, landlords are required to ensure that running water is available to every dwelling.

      Landlords may find it beneficial to place the water bill in their name and collect water charges from their tenant as a condition of their lease agreement. This would ensure landlords know on a more timely basis whether the tenant is meeting this obligation of their tenancy.

      By adding unpaid water charges to property taxes, the City helps ensure fairness to all rate payers by reducing bad debts.

      Landlords can register with the utility, and we will work with them to keep them up to date on the status of the accounts for their rental units.

      More information for landlords is available at http://www.winnipeg.ca/waterandwaste/dept/landlord.stm

      • madelaine says:

        These are our comments. If they are only met with a copy and paste answer I don’t see the point in providing an answer. Water is the only utility that does this. Just more incompetence and unwillingness to change on the city’s part. If hydro, mts and all other individual services like Shaw can control’ bad debts’ and the city can’t, that should be something to be looked at. Landlords can have a hard enough time collecting rent and late fees, making the landlord do the work for the city that all other utilities do themselves is ridiculous.

  8. C Davis says:

    Exactly! We are commenting on CHANGES that should also be made – not what the current by-law states!! We are already aware of the city’s backwards way of doing things.

  9. I am glad that the city is taking steps to make sure that our drinking water is protected from backflow, and to prevent unmetered and illegal use of water.

    Has the city considered creating wording around limiting outdoor water use? In the summers our water consumption increases significantly for use in watering lawns and washing vehicles, etc. Many other municipalities across Canada have designated days and times that water can be used for these purposes. I don’t know if this is something that would fall under this by-law, but I think it would help reduce the amount of water needing to be treated at the water and waste water treatment plants, which would potentially save on costs for the city.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your comments and questions Megan.

      Part 2 section 17 of the draft by-law pertains to water rationing. This section provides the City flexibility in managing our water supply depending on the situation and associated risks.

      Water supply planning studies have revealed that outdoor water use in Winnipeg is very small. On a typical residential bill, outdoor water use amounts to approximately 4-6% of the annual bill. Through our continued water conservation program messaging residents are encouraged to check their lawn by completing the “spring” test and if necessary water their lawn exclusively in the early morning or late evening.

  10. Bob says:

    I looked at Section 41 of the Neighborhood Liveability By-Law and I don’t see where is says that landlords are financially responsible and that the city is not responsible for collecting the amounts due from the consumer.

    The water department should do like the other utilities and make it an issue between the consumer and utility?

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your comment Bob.

      The draft Water By-law continues to follow a long-standing policy recommendation that was adopted by the Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works on April 15, 2003.

      The adopted recommendation states:

      That the Water and Waste Department continue to transfer the unpaid water bills of tenants to owner’s property taxes.

      More information is available at:
      Standing Policy Committee Meeting Minutes

  11. Bob says:

    I sent a comment/question earlier this afternoon. I later checked this site and saw my comment.

    My comment is gone now. Has it been deleted? And if it has been deleted, why has it been deleted?

  12. Heather says:

    My frequently asked question is: Does an existing fire sprinkler system require a testable double check valve assembly backflow preventer for premise isolation in the new waterworks bylaw and is that clearly stated in the bylaw?

    • admin says:

      Thanks for your comment Heather.

      All commercial and industrial buildings including apartment buildings will require premise isolation. This includes fire protection systems and potable water systems as stated in the National Plumbing Code and B64.10 CSA standards. The two systems will be independently protected as not to interfere with either system when testing, maintenance or replacement is required on the backflow preventers.

  13. Andrea DeRuddere says:

    I have been a City of Winnipeg resident for 51 years and a St. Norbert, “rur-ban”(rural/urban) homeowner for 29 years. In this time frame we, the City of Winnipeg, St.Norbert South and West residents, with cisterns have seen price increases in our drinking water rise from $13 per 1,000 gallon (1985) to $45 per 1,000 gallon/( 2013) or portion of. Needless to say we have been water conservationists since time immemorial.
    I am concerned that our water service is NOT regulated!? No watch dog has been involved to regulate :1) price increases, 2) service availability and 3) quality control over our drinking water; service provider’s trucks and standpipe(s).
    There have been instances where water delivered to my home was definitely was NOT City of Wpg. sourced and was pumped out of some rural water standpipe(s) or private well and delivered as City water.
    Our land taxes have increased exponentially in the last 29 years without any local improvements to water delivery or land drainage and removal systems. Especially our water delivery services! Myself and our neighbors,on Father LaBonte Rd, Turnbull Drive,Perreault Avenue, Pembina Hwy addresses south of Rue des Trappiste, Waverly Blvd, Brady Road, have expressed concern to City of Winnipeg officials : Mr. John Angus, Mr. Justin Swandel, Mr. Dave Gaudreau, Mr Rod, Bruinooge in the past years without any resolution. If we (the residents) had been allowed to hook up to “RM of Ritchot” based water supply when it was implemented some years ago to their resident rural properties this would not be the issue that it is today as our home property values and safety (drinking water and fire fighting capacities) would not be in question. Our homes are regarded comparable in real estate prices to homes with unquestionable water supply and sewers either within the City of Winnipeg or to upgraded homes on Red River Drive which are also water serviced by the RM of Ritchot water services, as per Board of Revision, City of Winnipeg.
    What I would like to know is : In this current revision of the City’s water bylaw’s will there finally be a provision that allows us “rur-ban” residents to apply to our neighboring RM’s for the supply directly to our homes, without the use of cisterns nor “trickle systems”, for resident home water services?
    Will there be a provision that the City’s Water Waste & Pollution Control Center monitor the quality and safety of OUR drinking water? Will there be a provision that quality control and Health & Food Safety Standards be met and monitored by the vessels and companies supplying our drinking water?
    In the very memorable past, there was a local water hauling service who’s truck and delivery service was not as clean as our local Septic Service Trucks, and quite frankly, no one could answer as to whom is keeping the service provider to regulated standards.The common answer was ” Switch service provider.” but the other provider’s did NOT want the extra homes to also provide for and only took over, albeit grudgingly,, when that particular provider absolved his business. With his business demise there are currently NO existing businesses that offer cleaning services for cisterns. Many newer resident homeowners are not aware of this yet. It will be left to homeowners to try this without knowing the Food/ Water quality standards nor will they be aware of the very real risks to health and property when attempting this themselves.
    Almost as concerning, 30 years ago there were several water service providers to choose from. Now there are two locally. Kenny’s Water hauling Service and Lee’s Water Hauling Service. They are relatives. They are both aging and there is no competition for service nor replacements for them coming up through the ranks as the Rural Municipalities now are providing home water services to their constituents and essentially the business has died off with the decrease in demand. When these two gentlemen call it a career who will deliver our drinking water?
    Headingly is now serviced by their neighboring Rural Municipality.North Main Street (North of the City of Winnipeg Pollution & Control Center) may source it’s water delivery from a Rural Municipality also. Which leaves a very small pocket of taxpaying residents in Winnipeg South without water serviced properties.
    Potable and un-potable is not even a determining factor nor present in this equation.
    Our properties are watershed from the Brady Road Landfill making local underground wells unusable.
    Which leaves me to respectfully request,” Please do not overlook us residents, yet again, when making revisions to the City of Winnipeg Water By-Law’s”.
    I, on behalf of my neighbors, implore you to either provide water supply, water supply alternatives,as well as water quality regulation and safety measure provisions for our properties at this time as you are reviewing and making additions to our City of Winnipeg Water By-Law.
    I Thank you for your time and consideration of these long overdue matters and look forward to actively working towards solutions to these very overlooked situations of grave importance to the residents of St.Norbert ( South and West).
    Andrea DeRuddere

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your comment Andrea.

      The City of Winnipeg Water Works By-law only regulates the operation of the City of Winnipeg’s waterworks system, and does not govern the process to extend water pipes.

      The City’s Local Improvement Process addresses the extension of services, such as water mains. More information is on the City of Winnipeg website at winnipeg.ca/publicworks/Services/LocalImprovements.asp

      The City operates two standpipe locations that provide access to City water for haulers. More information is on our website at winnipeg.ca/waterandwaste/water/standpipeNotice.stm

      We regulate the process for accessing the water from our standpipes. However, water haulers are regulated by the Province of Manitoba. If you have concerns related to bulk water hauling, please contact your local Public Health Inspector or visit the Health Protection Unit website at manitoba.ca/healthprotection