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Water Asset Management Plan (AMP)

This page highlights information contained in the WATER AMP. The document outlines the current state of Barrie's water infrastructure and highlights the costs associated with delivering safe drinking water.

The City of Barrie owns and manages assets that support the supply, treatment, storage, transmission and distribution of safe drinking water. As Barrie continues to grow responsibly, ensuring our water network remains in good shape, and can continue to service our increasing number of residents and visitors, is key.
By July 1, 2025, the City is required by the Province to outline the costs, risks and benefits of providing different levels of service, including for the delivery of safe drinking water.

Water Assets​

To deliver safe drinking water city-wide, the City relies on a network of water assets, including a surface water treatment plant, wells, storage towers and reservoirs, pumping stations, watermains, valves, hydrants and meters.
As of 2021, the City owns more than $1.3 billion in water assets, which include:

  • 1 surface water treatment plant
  • 12 wells
  • 3 underground reservoirs
  • 3 water towers
  • 7 pumping stations
  • 643 km of watermains
  • 3,832 hydrants
  • 6,777 valves and 129 valve chambers
  • 72 pressure reducing valves (PRV) and 32 PRV chambers
  • 45,135 water meters

The City’s network of water assets is expected to grow by more than $250 million over the next 10 years, to an estimated total of more than $1.5 billion by 2031.

The State of our Water Assets

As of 2021, 90.6% of the City’s water assets are generally in fair or better condition. This means the City has some time to plan and take preventative measures before more of our water assets need major maintenance or replacement (which comes at a higher cost). Some current areas of concern:

  • 4.8% or $62.4 million of our water assets are in poor or very poor condition (nearing the end of their life). Those in very poor condition, which are due or overdue for replacement, include:
    • Watermains ($7.7 million)
    • Water meters ($6.9 million)
    • PRV chambers ($6.1 million)
    • Pumping station components ($4.2 million)
    • Rowers and reservoirs ($0.6 million)
    • Wells ($0.1 million)
  • $9.49 million of water assets currently pose extreme risk and need to be actively managed and prioritized to reduce the potential of health and safety, environmental, financial, and service delivery consequences. These assets include:
    • A 1.5 km segment of a transmission main along Ferndale Road, from Tiffin Street to Ardagh Road. The segment is currently shut down
    • The building electrical and mechanical systems at different pumping stations (e.g., Leacock).
  • 80% of the City’s water assets were built within the last three decades and these assets will continue to age together. By tracking these assets and pro-actively investing in their maintenance and replacement at the right time, the City can save money and prevent service interruptions.

The Cost of Water Management

To maintain proper water management, the City should ideally spend more money on water assets than what is available in the budget. There is a gap between the amount available for spending and the amount needed to properly maintain our water assets and the services they provide.

Water Asset Funding (Annual Average, 2021–30)

Budgeted City of Barrie funding:$38.4M / year
Actual funding needed to sustain service* $44.6M / year
Funding gap:$6.2M / year
*Including new and upgraded assets to address population growth

Breakdown of Needed Water Spending (Annual Average, 2021–30)

Lifecycle ActivityBudgeted FundingSpending NeededFunding
Gap
Growth & Upgrades
New infrastructure projects are required to support growth, while certain upgrades are needed for infrastructure to meet current standards.
$8.45M / year$9.7M / year$1.25M / year
Renewal
As assets near the end of their life, they need to be rehabilitated or renewed.
$7.19M / year$9.4M / year$2.23M / year
Operations & Maintenance
Assets need ongoing operation and maintenance work to function.
$22.81M / year$25.5M / year$2.72 M / year
*Capital budgets include carry-forward; Operations & maintenance budgets are developed annually. The forecasted budget includes the three-year Operating forecast and an assumed 2% annual increase after that.


To meet Barrie’s growth, an additional $1.25 million per year is needed over what has already been budgeted by the City. This additional funding would allow the City to:

  • Sufficiently construct new assets in the Salem and Hewitt’s Secondary Plan Area
  • Expand assets in already established neighbourhoods (e.g., watermains and the Anne Street pumping station)
  • Upgrade assets (e.g., well upgrades and the installation of solar panels on the surface water treatment plant)

Assets in very poor condition, as well as high-risk assets, also need financial support. For instance:

  • $7.7 million of watermains are in very poor condition and need to be replaced. As those watermains are replaced, it is estimated that $2.7 million worth of hydrants, valves and valve chambers connected to those watermains will also need replacing.

Regarding operations and maintenance, some additional funding is needed to ensure water services continue to be delivered effectively. These additional funds would cover new condition assessments identified through the AMP as necessary and would help the City meet repair program requirements.

Water Asset Funding

Current funding sources for building, upgrading and renewing water assets include:

Funding Source Explanation
Development Charges In accordance with the Development Charges Act, these are charges collected by the City from developers, to help pay for growth-related infrastructure.
Front Ending Agreements/Development Contributions These are agreements between developers and the City that allow a developer to “up front” the cost of building infrastructure.
DebtLong-term borrowing to be paid for by future taxpayers and/or through the receipt of development charges (depending on type of debt).
Canada Community-Building FundFormerly the Federal Gas Tax Fund, the federal fund provides additional financial support to municipalities for eligible infrastructure projects.
GrantsProject specific grants and subsidies, other than the Canada Community-Building Fund.​
Water Capital ReserveRevenue collected from taxpayers through water utility bills.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does the City make sure Barrie’s drinking water is safe?

The City of Barrie must meet several provincial requirements to ensure that the water delivered across the city is safe. This includes meeting the standards set out in the Province’s Safe Drinking Water Act (2002), the Clean Water Act (2006) and the Ontario’s Drinking Water Quality Management Standard.

How does the condition of Barrie’s water assets compare with those belonging to other Canadian municipalities?

The Canadian Infrastructure Report Card (CIRC) assesses the overall health of municipal infrastructure as reported by cities and communities across Canada. Using the CIRC assessment, comparisons between the City of Barrie and the national average can be made.

The CIRC concludes that most municipalities have infrastructure that is underfunded and that it is a common theme. The City of Barrie's reinvestment rates and infrastructure gaps are aligned with many other municipalities across the country.

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