Water Efficiency for Businesses

Capacity Buy Back Program

Upper Cananda College

The City of Toronto’s Capacity Buy Back Program encourages and rewards commercial and institutional organizations that reduce water use.

This program allows the City to buy back water capacity that has been freed up by participants who have reduced water use in their operations.

By implementing permanent process or equipment changes that save water, commercial and institutional organizations could be eligible for a cash rebate.

The Program

  • Helps identify how your organization can reduce water use
  • Offers a one-time cash rebate of up to 30 cents per litre of water saved per average day
  • Helps participants save money over the long term with reduced water bills

How it works:

Step 1: Let us know you are interested

Contact the City of Toronto by email at savewater@toronto.ca (or call 416-392-7000) to express your interest in learning more about or participating in the Capacity Buy Back program.

Step 2: Eligibility and options

You will be contacted to discuss your eligibility and options.  If you meet the criteria, we’ll arrange for a water audit at your organization by a professional engineer.

Step 3: The audit and report

We will work with you to complete a thorough walkthrough and review of your organization.  Based on this visit, an engineer will develop a detailed water audit report that will include a list of eligible process or equipment changes your organization can make and estimate the savings you can expect. View a sample audit report (PDF).

Step 4: Implementation

Review the report and execute some or all of the water saving recommendations.

If you need support reviewing the report or discussing the recommendations with others in your organization, we’re happy to help.  We can come in for small meetings or to present to larger groups.

Step 5: Verification

Once you have implemented some or all of your water efficiency measures, please fill out the Notice of Completion form and email it to savewater@toronto.ca. We will then contact you to arrange for a site visit to verify the savings. If you don’t implement all of your recommendations at once, simply complete and submit the form after each measure is completed.

Step 6: The Rebate

After each verification we’ll present your organization with a cheque for up to 30 cents per litre of water saved per average day.

How can my business reduce water use?

Examining the equipment you are using, where you get water and the ways your organization uses water, can all help you find new ways to save.

Equipment: Replacing older, high-water-use equipment or fixtures with new water-efficient equipment can help you save.  Equipment eligible under the Capacity Buyback Program:

  • Cooling towers
  • Boilers
  • Refrigeration
  • Food service equipment
  • Process equipment and other site-specific water saving measures 
  • Leak detection of your system and equipment is an important part of this assessment.

(Domestic water fixtures and irrigation systems are not eligible for cash incentives, but may yield significant water savings)

Water source: Examine the source of your water and consider if all water needs to be potable. Think about:

  • Grey water reuse
  • Rainwater harvesting

Water use practices: The way you use water can have a big impact on how much you use. Organizations may consider changing their water use habits:

  • Floors and other surfaces should be swept with a broom before mopping
  • Hoses and taps need to be consistently turned-off after use
  • Operate clothes washers and dishwasher only with full loads
  • Pre-rinse all dishes and pots with a low-flow pre-rinse spray valve or by soaking in used wash water
  • Lawn and garden care should take into consideration recent and forecasted precipitation or other conditions and be adjusted accordingly

Other benefits for program participants

In addition to the cash rebate and long-term water savings, participation in the Capacity Buy Back program has many other benefits, some that could impact your organization, include:

  • Use rebates to defray your upfront capital cost or reduce the costs of implementing further water efficiency measures
  • Save energy
  • Reduce sewer charges
  • Increase productivity
  • By reducing unnecessary water use, you will help to avoid the need for expensive municipal infrastructure such as new sewers and watermains.

How to apply

Contact the City of Toronto by email at savewater@toronto.ca (or call 416-392-7000) to express your interest in learning more about or participating in the Capacity Buy Back program.

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