Infrastructure Master Plan

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The Infrastructure Master Plan (IMP) is a strategic document that sets growth-related goals, objectives, and priorities for municipal infrastructure related to water purification and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment, and stormwater management, supporting the City’s New Official Plan project. The Official Plan provides a vision for the future growth of the City and a policy framework to guide the City’s physical development.

A key focus of the updated IMP will include developing strategies and programs aimed at managing infrastructure capacity to support increasing rates of intensification. Projects will be identified in order to achieve expected levels of service for community infrastructure while being socially, environmentally, and economically conscious of our water resources and assisting to implement the City’s climate change strategy. Infrastructure needs and cost forecasts to the year 2046 will also be identified, in keeping with the Official Plan’s horizon.

Preparation of the plan will follow City Council’s adoption of the Official Plan and will be coordinated with the Long Range Financial Plan, the Comprehensive Zoning By-law Review, the Comprehensive Asset Management (CAM) and the Wet Weather Infrastructure Management Plan.



The Infrastructure Master Plan (IMP) is a strategic document that sets growth-related goals, objectives, and priorities for municipal infrastructure related to water purification and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment, and stormwater management, supporting the City’s New Official Plan project. The Official Plan provides a vision for the future growth of the City and a policy framework to guide the City’s physical development.

A key focus of the updated IMP will include developing strategies and programs aimed at managing infrastructure capacity to support increasing rates of intensification. Projects will be identified in order to achieve expected levels of service for community infrastructure while being socially, environmentally, and economically conscious of our water resources and assisting to implement the City’s climate change strategy. Infrastructure needs and cost forecasts to the year 2046 will also be identified, in keeping with the Official Plan’s horizon.

Preparation of the plan will follow City Council’s adoption of the Official Plan and will be coordinated with the Long Range Financial Plan, the Comprehensive Zoning By-law Review, the Comprehensive Asset Management (CAM) and the Wet Weather Infrastructure Management Plan.



  • Infrastructure Master Plan Components and Schedule

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    Development of the IMP is currently in progress, including several major components that address drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater management required to support the Official Plan objectives. The IMP will also enable associated greenfield and intensification development in urban areas and rural villages. A status update on key aspects of the plan and preliminary conclusions are provided below.


    Intensification Capacity Management

    The City is completing several studies to support the management of infrastructure capacity as intensification increases in existing neighbourhoods. These studies fall into the following three categories:

    • Review of best practices in place in other major Canadian cities;
    • Analysis of local water distribution and wastewater collection systems performance in existing neighbourhoods; and
    • Review of strategic options for managing stormwater.

    Through these studies, the following must be taken into consideration when developing the new IMP:

    • Existing grading and development constraints limit opportunities to improve storm drainage system capacities;
    • A regulatory mechanism will be required to enforce on-site stormwater management on virtually all intensification development projects where there is an increase in imperviousness. The proposed approach includes development of a design guide, sizing tables, approved servicing concept illustrations and standard drawings to simplify the design process for property owners;
    • New City programs will be required to identify and prioritize upgrades to local water and sanitary systems based on intensification development pressure, asset condition, and existing system vulnerabilities; and
    • A growth financing mechanism, such as Development Charges, will be needed to support these programs.

    Early findings from these studies indicate that water and wastewater system capacity is available to support significant increases in intensification in most areas of the City. The key reasons for this are as follows:

    • Per capita water demands have been dropping steadily over the last 30 years;
    • Redevelopment in many areas of the City provides opportunities to remove wet weather flow from the sanitary sewer system; for example, through elimination of existing foundation drain connections;
    • On-site stormwater management provides opportunities to reduce flows to the City’s combined sewers, allowing capacity for future sanitary flows;
    • Local watermain sizing is not typically governed by average daily water demand;
    • Pipe sizing standards govern the sizing of the upstream sections of local sanitary networks.


    Water and Wastewater Master Plans

    Studies to support updated Water and Wastewater Master Plans are in progress to identify the major infrastructure projects needed to support growth to 2046 and beyond. These major projects will account for land use intensification, greenfield development on vacant urban lands in established areas, and any urban expansion lands approved by Council in February 2021.

    Detailed models of the existing water distribution system and wastewater collection system have been improved, updated, and calibrated based on monitoring data to support development of the Water and Wastewater Master Plans.

    Gross City-wide projections were approved by Council in May 2021. Detailed local projections are currently being developed, which consider greenfield development and intensification-based development to support preparation of the plans.


    Stormwater Master Plan

    An updated Stormwater Master Plan (SMP) is also an important aspect of the IMP update. Generally, major stormwater infrastructure required to support greenfield development will continue to be planned and implemented by the development industry, subject to City approval processes. The Stormwater Master Plan will include recommendations for City-wide studies and programs, processes, and policies required to ensure resilience of Stormwater Management (SWM) systems and protection of receiving watercourses. It will also establish high-level requirements for stormwater management in expansion areas, including on sites with Low Impact Development (LID). LID involves the management and reduction of runoff as close to the site as possible to better mitigate impacts on receiving watercourses, compared to conventional approaches which treat stormwater at downstream locations.

    The SMP will include an overview of existing and future conditions, including constraints and opportunities associated with existing infrastructure and natural drainage systems. Future conditions will consider local climate projections. The SMP also presents the strategy for developing stormwater management retrofit plans in existing development areas.


    Rural Servicing

    Expansion to the City’s village boundaries are not being contemplated in the New Official Plan. As such, it is not anticipated that any new infrastructure projects to support village growth will be identified in the IMP. However, the IMP will provide a status report on village development and the supporting infrastructure projects that were identified in previous editions of the IMP. Private servicing issues in the rural area will also be reviewed.


    IMP Schedule Update

    The following are the project’s key milestones and anticipated dates:

    • Consideration of draft Official Plan by the City’s Special Joint Planning Committee and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee ─ October 2021
    • City of Ottawa Council adoption of new Official Plan ─ October 2021
    • Infrastructure Master Plan Public Engagement Event ─ June 2022
    • City of Ottawa Council approval of Infrastructure Master Plan ─ January 2023
  • Key Elements of the Infrastructure Master Plan Update

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    The Infrastructure Master Plan Update includes:

    • Affordability lens – cost-effective infrastructure
    • Resiliency lens – potential impacts associated with climate change and system failure conditions.
    • Actions supporting infrastructure policies in the new Official Plan
    • Descriptions of infrastructure systems and planning programs

    The anticipated outcomes are:

    • Recommended water and wastewater infrastructure projects needed to provide service to 2046
    • Future system performance
    • Cost estimates and funding sources for each project
    • Approximate year of implementation
  • Technical Studies

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    The IMP update is supported by several technical studies. The studies will:

    • analyze the performance of the water and wastewater infrastructure under the full range of potential operating conditions, today and in the future;
    • review and update system design criteria;
    • develop strategies to adapt to the impacts of climate change;
    • assess the servicing requirements created by suburban growth and intensification, including new high-density development around rapid transit stations;
    • identify growth-related water and wastewater projects and cost estimates;
    • consider opportunities to coordinate rehabilitation of existing infrastructure in the central area with planned projects, to save money and limit disruption to the public;
    • examine the options available to support safe and cost-effective village growth;
    • identify high level stormwater management concepts, criteria and study requirements for growth areas to support system resiliency; and
    • evaluate and document opportunities for stormwater retrofit in existing areas, and Low Impact Development measures in growth areas to mitigate development impacts on City watercourses.
  • Class Environmental Assessment

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    The IMP update is intended to satisfy the Class Environmental Assessment (EA) process for Master Plans. This implies a broad level of assessment. Class EA public consultation requirements will be coordinated with notices and events associated with the new Official Plan process.

    Notice of Commencement

  • How can I get involved?

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    There are several ways you can stay informed and engaged throughout the study process:

    • Sign-up to the project’s email list to receive updates on the planning study’s progress and notification of all public events (imp-pdi@ottawa.ca)
    • Attend public events
    • Visit this webpage to stay up-to-date about upcoming events and current information
    • Contact the Project Team during the process to request information, ask questions, submit feedback or meet in-person
Page last updated: 09 September 2021, 10:09