Lake Ontario is the source of drinking water for most of the GTA. It is pumped from the lake and then treated by the City of Toronto and Peel Region. It is purchased by York Region and pumped through large regional pipes up to Markham and neighbouring municipalities. Markham buys the clean water and delivers it to homes, schools and businesses through the municipal water system, which it owns and manages. Wastewater is carried away through the municipal sanitary sewer system through the York Region system to the Durham Region’s Duffin Creek Water Pollution Treatment Plant in Pickering for treatment before it is released back into Lake Ontario.
Each year, Markham Council approves a Water Rate based on the cost of delivering this service. The rate ensures sufficient funding to pay for:
- purchase of drinking water from York Region
- wastewater treatment
- operating and maintaining the local water system – including testing, water mains, fire hydrants etc.
It also covers the cost for Markham to ensure its drinking water quality meets Ontario’s drinking water standards [Safe Drinking Water Act (2001)]. All revenue goes to fund the municipal water system and does not go into general revenue.
The Total 2013 Rate is $2.8376 per cubic metre (per 1000 litres) of water, calculated as follows:
Markham Water Rate
||2013 Rate per cubic metre
|Combined Water/Wastewater Rate
|Total 2013 Combined Water/Wastewater Rate
A surcharge is added to cover the costs of replacing and upgrading the system, inflation and population growth.
You can also review the report on the 2014 water rate (PDF).
Your Water Bill
Charges for water and electricity both appear on your Powerstream bill, which is sent to residents every 3 months. Water and sewer charges are calculated by multiplying water consumption (m3) by the water rate. The sample bill below shows where to find your water consumption and water and sewer charges, as well as your recent water consumption history.
Future Water Costs
Water costs were low for many years and are still lower than many other household expenses, such as electricity, internet and telephone service. However, costs are now rising due to the increasing energy costs needed for pumping water and wastewater; aging pipes; more severe weather conditions which impact the system; and increasing provincial regulations. At the same time that costs are increasing, water sales are decreasing, due to improved water-efficient appliances and fixtures and water conservation.
Markham, like other municipalities in Ontario, is assessing a new water rate structure – one that would ensure there is adequate funding for the water and waste water system and that would be transparent, accountable and stable over the long term.