Outside water use

Outside Water Use Program - the current level is red, reduce and stop nonessential use

Outside Water Use By-law

Outside Water Use Program

The City’s Outside Water Use Program (OWUP) has become one of the most successful and recognized water conservation programs in Ontario, thanks to the support of Guelph residents. As many Guelphites know, Guelph is Canada’s largest community to be reliant almost exclusively on groundwater for its water supply. Since groundwater takes much longer to replenish after drought-like conditions than surface water, it’s a lot more vulnerable to overuse.

About the Outdoor Water Use Program

The OWUP was created in 2002 in response to the Ontario Low Water Response Plan. The OWUP program objectives are to conserve Guelph’s groundwater supply and protect against the impact of drought during the hot, dry summer months. Amendments to the program and by-law were later completed through a comprehensive review process in 2013. These amendments were developed to reflect changing weather patterns and a growing community.Outside Water Use By-lawThe Program has three levels that affect residential outside water use. These levels are triggered by dry weather and local watershed conditions.


Level 0 Blue
Careful use

Level 1 Yellow
Reduce outside use

The Outside Water Use Program is enforced by the City of Guelph Water Services division and Bylaw Enforcement Officers.

Condition reports

Keep up the good work

Today, more than 97 per cent of residents recognize and follow the levels in place each summer. This overwhelming support has helped reduce Guelph’s average summer daily water use by over 18 million litres!