On August 16, 2007, the government announced a new $40 million five year funding program to provide operating and capital assistance to municipalities and Local Services Boards (LSBs) with public drinking water systems serving small populations. Because of their size, many small communities, particularly in northern and rural Ontario, face unique challenges with the financial sustainability and affordability of their drinking water systems. This funding program helps respond to these challenges.
The Ontario Small Waterworks Assistance Program (OSWAP), launched on August 31, 2007, is the first part of the $40 million program. Over five years, OSWAP will provide $8 million in entitlement operating funding. This funding will help municipalities and LSBs with public drinking water systems serving 1,000 or fewer residents with drinking water system operating costs. The first year of OSWAP funding was issued to 75 communities early in 2008.
The second stage of the funding program, OSWAP-2, was launched on August 21, 2008. Over four years, OSWAP-2 will provide a total of $12 million in entitlement operating funding to municipalities with public drinking water systems serving between 1,001 and 5,000 residents. Expressions of interest for OSWAP-2 were accepted between August 21, 2008 and October 31, 2008. The first year of OSWAP-2 funding was issued to 91 communities early in 2009.
Ontario is helping families in 85 small rural and Northern communities receive clean, safe and affordable water and wastewater services by investing more than $40 million from the first intake of phase three of the Ontario Small Waterworks Assistance Program (OSWAP-3).
These communities can now fix leaking pipes, install water meters and undertake projects to improve water conservation and efficiency in their water and wastewater systems.
Projects funded under OSWAP-3 will help avoid the need for costly infrastructure expansions and help reduce operating costs. A key factor used to assess projects was how well they addressed conservation and efficiency.
Municipalities and Local Services Boards that own residential drinking water or wastewater systems that provide services to 5,000 and fewer residences were eligible to apply for funding. In municipalities where both services are provided, average population served is used to determine eligibility. First Nation communities were eligible if the proposed project is being undertaken in collaboration with one or more eligible municipalities and/or Local Services Boards.
Through the first two phases of the program (OSWAP and OSWAP-2), $20 million in operating grants is being provided to 166 communities that serve 5,000 and fewer residents.
The province has expanded OSWAP-3 from $20 million to $50 million and is also making funding available for both water and wastewater projects.
More information on OSWAP can be found here.
For more information:
c/o Rural Community Development Branch
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
1 Stone Rd West, 4th Floor
Guelph ON N1G 4Y2