Your water is supplied by the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. The Region is responsible for the water supply and water treatment. We ensure the safe and reliable delivery of this water to you. We are also responsible for maintaining the pipes and valves that keep our community's water flowing.


Watch the Kitchener’s Water Infrastructure video to learn how our water systems work together.


On this page:

1. Water quality
2. Water pressure
3. Water meters
4. Water meter replacement and removal
5. Water valves & your driveway
6. Water leaks
7. Backflow prevention
8. Rates and fees
9. Watermain breaks and outages
10. Investing in water
11. Water saving tips
12. Request a Fire Hydrant Flow Test
13. Bulk water fill stations

Water Quality

We share responsibility with the Region to regularly test water and ensure that we are meeting or exceeding the standards set out by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. While the Region maintains the quality of water, we maintain the delivery system and provide the service that delivers fresh drinking water to your home.

Water Quality Reports are available for consumers through the Region of Waterloo.

Read our City of Kitchener Water Distribution System 2020 Annual Report for more information.

View the Safe Drinking Water video to learn how we provide reliable, clean drinking water.

Kitchener Utilities Drinking Water License

Our Quality Management System (QMS) Policy and operational plans have been approved by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to meet guidelines under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

By achieving accreditation, Kitchener Utilities has demonstrated that we have an operational and effective drinking water quality management system.

Your tap water

Your tap water is safe to drink. You do not need to purchase a treatment system to make the water safe.

The drinking water source in Kitchener is approximately 80 percent groundwater. Our groundwater is hard, meaning there is naturally occurring dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water. Systems with high hardness also have high total dissolved solids (TDS). This refers to mainly the inorganic substances dissolved in water, principally chloride, sulphates, calcium, magnesium and bicarbonates. 

Discoloured Water

Occasionally, discoloured water can come out of your tap. This happens when:

  • naturally occurring iron and manganese get stirred up in watermains
  • when watermains are flushed or break
  • when there is a change in pressure from events such as a fire

To clear the discoloured water, you can turn on a cold water tap nearest your water meter and let it flush slowly for several minutes until it runs clear.

Your water is safe to drink as iron and manganese are not a health risk. However, you should flush your lines until the water runs clear before you drink it.

If you have had discoloured water, some discolouration can remain on your water softener resin or in your hot water tank. You can clear the discolouration by following these steps:

1. Check to see if the discolouration is in the hard water as well as the soft water.

If you have a water softener and there has been a build-up of iron and manganese over time, when the softener regenerates, it can release some of the minerals and discolour your water.

2. If it is in the soft water, try running your water softener on bypass. Check to see if the hot water is affected by running the hot water on bypass also.

3. Treat the resin on your water softener with products available from hardware stores to remove iron.

If you continue to have an issue with discoloured water, contact us by phone at 519-741-2529, select option 3.


Water pressure

If you are having water pressure problems, there are a few things you can do to help to determine the nature of the problem:

  • if it is just your soft water that has low pressure, put your water softener on bypass or call your plumber. This is the most common pressure issue. 
  • if it is just your hot water that has low pressure, contact your rental water heater provider. If you own your water heater you will need to contact a plumber directly.
  • check your water valve to ensure it is fully open. If you recently had plumbing work done, or haven't checked your valves regularly, it is possible that a valve may have been left partially closed. This valve is usually located where the water enters the house.
  • if the issue is recent and your neighbours are also experiencing low pressure, it may indicate a possible watermain break. View our outages & news page to see if there is a watermain break in your area.

If you are still having pressure related issues, contact us by phone at 519-741-2529, select option 3.

Note: If Kitchener Utilities is dispatched for a water-pressure related complaint, charges will be billed to the owner should an investigation of the issue result in internal negligence or poor maintenance.


Water meters

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Your water meter is fitted to the pipes serving your home to measure the water passing through the pipes. The meters are read, and you are billed for water and sewer consumption based on the readings.

The water meter located inside your home measures your water use. The meter device outside your home supplies readings from the meter inside. It is located outside your home, so we do not have to enter your home to read your meter.

Water meters cannot speed up because they cannot physically measure more water than has flowed through them.  However, over time the water may wear down the meter because of friction, causing the meter to record less use -this is always to the customer's favour.

All homes and buildings connected to the municipal drinking water system require a meter. We are responsible for your water meter. You, the homeowner, own the piping and valves on either side of the meter as well as the water service line from the home to the curb stop.

 How to read your meter

To get an accurate reading:

  • read your meter that is normally located in your basement, or where your water service enters your home

  • read left to right.  The first five digits are before the decimal point, they are the most important figures to record

  • if you have a water meter with a solar cell on it, you will need to use a flashlight to shine light on the solar cell for the read to appear

  • if you have a flap on your meter which covers the read area, please remember to close the flap to ensure the battery does not run out

Older remote models have a digital reading as shown in the image below. The digits on this type of remote may malfunction over time. This can result in low consumption readings, which do not match the readings on the inside meter. If you have this type of remote at your home, compare your water meter reading to your remote reading periodically.

water meter remote old model version

For more information about water meter readings you can read our how to read your water meter document, contact us by calling the Billing Department by phone at 519-741-2450, or by email.

 Water meter access

We read your water and gas meters monthly. You need to ensure that your meter is always accessible for reading. Water meters are normally located in the basement of the home and usually have a remote reading device outside.

Having easy access to your meter ensures:

  • regular monthly meter readings and accurate charges

  • we can perform regular maintenance on your meters

  • access to shut off valves that allow us to keep you safe and respond to emergencies quickly

 Water meter maintenance

We are responsible for any future water meter maintenance, provided you take reasonable caution to prevent damage to it. You are not allowed to tamper with your water meter. There is a tamper tag on your water meter and this tag must remain intact- do not remove it.

If you require maintenance, you can contact us by phone at 519-741-2529.


Water meter replacement and removal

Water meter removal

If you would like to remove your water meter, complete and submit the Water Meter Removal Request Form.

Water meter replacement program

Water meters need to be replaced after about 15-20 years. When it is time to replace your meter, we will send you a letter.

There is no cost associated with this program. Water meter replacement is mandatory to ensure your water bill is accurate. 

We have contracted Neptune Technology Group to schedule meter replacement appointments and to complete some meter replacements on our behalf. Once you receive your letter, follow these steps:

  1. Make an appointment with Neptune Technology Group by calling them at 1-800-667-4387.
  2. Make sure there is clear, ample access around your water meter for your appointment
  3. Check your main water shut-off valve and make sure it is operable. This is located where your water comes into your home, usually the basement.

Water valves & your driveway

If you are installing, replacing or updating your driveway, you need to make your water shut-off valve visible and accessible. Before your driveway work begins:

1. Contact us two weeks prior to working on your driveway and request an inspection by calling 519-741-2529, select option 3. Our inspection service is free.

2. We will come and locate any water valves that are under your driveway. This means we will not have to dig up a portion of your driveway in the future.

3. If you are excavating, locate all your utility lines first. Contact Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255 to schedule an inspection. Under Ontario regulations, this is the law.

If your home is five years old or less, please check with your Developer before finishing your driveway.  Homes five years old or less may not have their water service assumed by the City yet.  In which case, changes to your driveway can only be approved by the Developer in writing. 

Contact the City of Kitchener's Engineering Division by phone at 519-741-2200 ext. 7411 to determine the status of the water box.

View the Finishing your Driveway and Water shut-off Valve video to learn why it is important to have your water shut-off valve located before finishing your driveway.

Locating your water shut-off valve

Every home or property has a water shut-off valve. It is usually found within the property's green space, or i driveway.

Water shut-off valve in a driveway location

The water shut-off valve is the only way to access the water supply to your home for maintenance or valve replacement. If you do not request an inspection from us prior to your driveway work and your valves need repairs, we may have to dig up a portion of your driveway. We will patch the area, but we will not replace or match the entire driveway. 

If we have made a repair to your water valve, please allow 30 days for the ground to settle before completing any driveway work.


Water Leaks

Causes of water leaks

To avoid surprising high costs on your next water bill, look around your home for leaks in toilets and faucets. The quicker you find and repair leaks, the less they will cost you.

Common causes of water leaks:

  • toilets not working properly
  • water softeners
  • leaking taps
  • reverse osmosis units
  • irrigation systems
  • ruptured pipes inside your home

Sometimes a leak can self-correct. For example, with the next water softener cycle or the flush of a seldom-used toilet. You can also be proactive and take part in the Region of Waterloo's free Water Efficient Technology (WET) program, or hire a plumber to get an inspection and expert advice.

 Water leaks and your bill

Sometimes water leaks cannot be seen or heard. If there is a leak during the month, we would not be aware of it until the meter is read.  This means water leaks can go unnoticed by you during your billing cycle.

You are responsible for your water usage, even if there is a leak. The cost of even the smallest leak can add up quickly. If you receive a high bill resulting from a water leak, we will work with you to develop a payment plan to manage your bill.

If you have repaired a water leak which resulted in a bill with twice your average usage, and for greater than 18 cubic metres of water, you may be eligible for an adjustment. 

View our Water Leak Adjustment Policy

Apply for a Water Leak Adjustment Request

 

Water meter issues are usually not the cause of higher water bills. They physically cannot record water usage unless water flows through them. If your water meter fails, it will record less consumption than what was used. If you're concerned about the accuracy of your meter, you can request to have it tested. The test takes approximately 2 hours and a fee of $219.71 including tax is charged for the testing. 

 What to do if you have a water leak

If you have a water leak, follow these steps:

1. Find the leak location.

  • if the leak occurs between the water shut-off valve and your home, it is your responsibility. The water shut-off valve is often at the end of your driveway or near the property line

  • if the leak occurs beyond the water shut-off valve to the public side of property, it is our responsibility

2. Call a plumber when:

  • a leak has occurred on your side of the property

  • a leak has occurred at the shut-off valve, the piping up to the meter, or the piping after the meter

  • a leak has occurred beyond the water shut-off to the public side of the property

  • if the valve cannot be turned off, or if it is leaking

  • the leak is outside. We will determine the leak location

3. Call Kitchener Utilities when:

  • there is a leak at the meter. Contain the leak in a bucket and contact us by phone at 519-741-2529, select option 3

Plumbers are not permitted to operate the shut-off valve, they must contact us by phone at 519-741-2529, select option 3.

The area from the shut-off valve to the main watermain is also our responsibility. If there is a leak on this section of pipe, we will repair it. Under the Municipal Code, a building permit is required for any repairs or replacement of your water service. For more information on building permits, please contact us by phone at 519-741-2433.

 Water leak prevention tips
  • repair and maintain all points where water is connected to the home 

  • ensure that the inside water valve is in working order

  • have piping inspected to ensure they are working properly


Backflow prevention

What is backflow

Backflow happens when water flows in the opposite direction. For example, instead of running from the city's water system into your home, the water runs the reverse way. This creates the potential for pollution.

The City of Kitchener's building division works in cooperation with us, and the community, to reduce the amount of backflow that occurs in the water system. This helps to ensure our drinking water is safe.

Backflow problems are of a higher concern for commercial, industrial, institutional and large multi-residential buildings.

Backflow Prevention Devices

The installation of a backflow preventer (BFP) device can stop a backflow problem before it occurs. These devices ensure unwanted substances do not enter our clean water supply.

Commercial, industrial, institutional and large multi-residential buildings

Backflow problems are of a higher concern for commercial, industrial, institutional and large multi-residential buildings. We have introduced a backflow prevention bylaw that affects these building types, to reduce backflows from happening

Lawn irrigation and sprinkler systems

Backflow preventer devices are required to be installed on lawn irrigation systems. An irrigation head can become contaminated with animal waste, fertilizers and/or pesticides. During rain events, the heads can become submerged as well. Without protection, these things can come back into the irrigation system into the drinking water. This can occur when the municipal water supply is turned off for maintenance and/or emergency repairs.

Annual testing is required to ensure the devices are working properly when an event occurs.

Backflow prevention device permit fee

The permit fee for a backflow preventer device is $94.56 including HST and is subject to change.

For more information on backflow prevention devices, requirements and permit information, contact us by phone at 519-741-2600 ext. 4840.

The following documents can help water customers upgrade their water systems:

 Backflow bylaw, codes and standards
Bylaw overview:
  • ensures that the municipal water is protected from potential backflow by ensuring that proper devices are installed, tested and maintained
  • outlines backflow permits and installations of devices by CSA Standard
  • every owner of a commercial, industrial, institutional and large multi-residential building must ensure that they have a backflow prevention device and that it is tested annually to ensure proper operation
  • residential homes with lawn irrigation and sprinkler systems must also be protected
  • prevents unauthorized connections to municipal fire hydrants

Bylaw:

  • Ontario Building Code 7.6.2.2 Back Siphonage
  • CSA Standards B64.10-11/B64.10.1-11

Selection and installation for backflow preventers/maintenance and field testing for backflow preventers (as well as other requirements).

  • 4.2 Frequency of Field Testing

The backflow preventers specified in Clause 4.1 shall be field tested in accordance with the applicable requirements for each device in Clauses 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3 at the following times:

  1. upon installation
  2. when cleaned, repaired, or overhauled
  3. when relocated
  4. annually
  5. as required by the authority having jurisdiction

Chapter 902 Backflow and Cross Connection Prevention Bylaw refers to CSA Standard for testing (including frequency), which means that the by-law requires annual testing for lawn sprinkler systems.

For more information on backflow preventers and requirements, contact us by phone at 519-741-2600 ext. 4840 or by email.


Rates and fees

Learn more about our water rates and fees.


Watermain breaks and outages

To view our service outages and learn more information on watermain breaks, view our outages & news page.


Investing in water

Learn more about how investing in our community and water infrastructure ensures reliable, safe water.


Water saving tips

If you are looking for ways to conserve your water use, visit our save & conserve page.

Region of Waterloo water use home audit

The Region of Waterloo can help above-average users save water and reduce their bills. You can register with the Region to qualify for a free in-home consultation if your water use is above the average of 165 litres per person/ per day. The in-home consultation includes a check of all water-using fixtures and appliances. At the end of the consultation you will get a report with suggestions on how to lower your water usage.

You can submit a home audit application  or visit the Region of Waterloo's website for more water-saving tips and information. 


Request a Fire Hydrant Flow Test

A fire hydrant flow tests determine the flow rate and pressure at a given location in the water distribution system.

If you require a new hydrant flow test:

  • have your contractor call our service department by phone at 519-741-2529 or email us with your proposed date and time for the flow test required.
  • your contractor must provide all equipment to perform the flow test including dechlorination supplies
  • hydrant socks must be used, and your contractor must supply them
  • it is the responsibility of your contractor to complete the flow test
  • if your contractor does not provide the necessary equipment, we will supply and bill the contractor the fire flow charge fee.

Fire hydrant flow tests are conducted between the months of May and October and are weather permitting. There is no cost to operate the hydrants during regular business hours, provided the requester emails a copy of the flow tests to us and we do not have a recent test for the area. Depending on the affected area, after-hours work may be required, and a fire flow charge will apply.

We can provide information from our previous flow tests on file, for free. To request results from a past hydrant flow test, contact us by email.


Bulk water fill stations

The City of Kitchener provides a bulk water service which allows customers to obtain large quantities of potable water for uses such as landscaping and construction.

We have two locations:

  • 1585 Battler Road – all year round
  • 22 Cedarview Place – May to October
Fees

The bulk water fill rate is the published cost of water per m3 plus a 15% admin fee.

You will need an active account to use the unit. If you do not have an account, contact us by email or call 519-741-2600 ext. 4094.

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