Manitoba - 2012 Policy Information  Manitoba Shield

Manitoba is home to three of Canada’s fifteen largest lakes - Lake Winnipeg, Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipegosis. There are approximately 400 public water systems in Manitoba, 45% of which rely on surface water as their source of supply, and 55% on groundwater, together servicing 80% of the population.  Groundwater is also an important resource, used for livestock watering, irrigation, industrial processing, heating, and cooling. Manitoba is undertaking a provincial water conservation initiative, WaterSmart Manitoba, to help Manitobans reduce water use today and for future generations. The initiative’s first focus is on programming for single family residential households and in time will provide programs for other water use sectors such as agriculture, municipal and commercial. Manitoba recently updated its plumbing code to include maximum flow requirements for common water using fixtures. Manitoba is currently in the process of developing a comprehensive Water Efficiency Strategy which will build and expand on current water conservation initiatives.

Use the links below to jump to a specific question:

Q1. Agencies Q9. Permitting Q17. Technical Assistance
Q2. Toilet Regulations   Q10. Drought Plans Q18. Volumetric Billing  
Q3. Showerhead Regulations Q11. Conservation Plans Q19. Metered Connections 
Q4. Urinal Regulations Q12. Authority to Approve Plans Q20. ET Microclimate Information  
Q5. Clothes Washer Regulations Q13. Plan Update Frequency Q21. Efficiency Strategy
Q6. PRSV Regulations Q14. Planning Framework Q22. Alternative Sources
Q7. Building or Plumbing Codes Q15. Implementation Requirements Additional Information
Q8. Water Loss Q16. Funding for Conservation






  1. What provincial ministry, department or agencies are in charge of drinking water conservation/efficiency?

    The Department of Water Stewardship
  2. Does the province have a water consumption regulation for toilets that is more stringent than the federal standard?  

    Neither the federal nor Ontario governments have a regulation for toilets at the point of sale.

  3. Does the province have a water consumption regulation for showerheads that is more stringent than the federal standard? 

    Although provincial building and plumbing codes can require water efficiency standards in new construction and renovations, there is to date no federal regulation for mandating the water consumption/efficiency of showerheads at the point of sale.
  4. Does the province have a water consumption regulation for urinals that is more stringent than the federal standard?

    Neither the federal nor Manitoban governments have a regulation for urinals at the point of sale.
  5. Does the province have a water consumption regulation for clothes washers that is more stringent than the federal standard? 


    Minimum water efficiency standards for commercial and residential clothes washers are established through Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations, limiting the Minimum Modified Energy Factor to greater than 35.68 L/kwh/cycle for capacity > 45 Land to greater than 18.4 L/kWh/cycle for capacities < 45 L.

  6. Does the province have a water consumption regulation for pre-rinse spray valves that is more stringent than the federal standard?  


    Minimum water efficiency standards for pre-rinse spray valves are established through Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations, limiting the flow rate to less than 6.1 litres per minute at 60 Psi water pressure as of January 1, 2012.

  7. Does the province have mandatory building or plumbing codes requiring water efficient products that exceed the federal standard? 


    As of March 28, 2011 the Manitoba Plumbing Code (MPC) is more stringent than the national requirement; a water efficiency section adopted in the code set the following limits for plumbing fixtures in new construction - maximum flow rates of 6 litres for toilets and 3.8 litres for urinals; 6.6 Lpm for showerheads; 5.7 Lpm for lavatory faucets; 8.4 Lpm for kitchen faucets; and 6.1 Lpm for pre-rinse spray valves. The MPC also adopts the specifications in the 2010 National Plumbing Code to allow non-potable sources to be used with dual plumbing within the home for fixtures other than sinks and faucets. Specifically, the MPC permits rainwater (referred to as storm sewage in the code) or greywater that is free of solids to be used for the flushing of toilets, urinals, or the priming of traps. Greywater is not currently permitted for outdoor irrigation.
    The MBC further requires all non-potable water systems to comply with CSA B128.1-06 Design and Installation of Non-Potable Water Systems and CSA B128.3-10 Performance of Non-potable Water Treatment Systems and be certified by a professional engineer.

    The National Building and Plumbing Codes of Canada are the model codes. They are issued by the Institute for Research and Construction (IRC), a part of the National Research Council of Canada. As model codes, they have no legal status until it is adopted by a jurisdiction that regulates construction. The Provinces and Territories of Canada are allowed to adopt parts or all of the code and to alter the code as they see fit.
    As of 2010 the National Plumbing Code does not explicitly mandate the use of water efficient fixtures – instead it references the CSA B45 standards that dictate maximum flush volumes for toilets of 6 litres and 3.8 Lpf for urinals and CSA B125 that dictates maximum flow rates of 8.3 Lpm for residential lavatory and kitchen faucets, 1.9 Lpm for public (non residential bathrooms that are exposed to walk-in traffic) lavatory faucets, 9.5 Lpm for showerheads, and 6 Lpm for commercial pre-rinse spray valves. Specifically, the National Plumbing Code permits rainwater (referred to as storm sewage in the code) or greywater that is free of solids to be used for the flushing of toilets, urinals, directly connected underground irrigation systems that only dispense water below the surface of the ground, or the priming of traps. 
  8. Does the province have any regulations or policies for water utilities regarding water loss in the utility distribution system?  


  9. Does the province require conservation activities as part of its water permitting process or water right permit?

    No, however on renewal of a water license the amount of water is adjusted to better reflect need. 

    The Water Licensing Branch of Manitoba Water Stewardship has the responsibility for allocating the use of water resources within the province. The legislative mechanism for ensuring that water resources are allocated in the best possible manner is The Water Rights Act.

    Municipally the province is investigating the application of water soft paths methods in a pilot project.
  10. Does the province require preparation of drought emergency plans by water utilities or cities on any prescribed schedule?  

    No, however they are encouraged.

    Manitoba encourages development of emergency response plans for water utilities, which includes the consideration of potential hazards for prolonged drought.

    Emergency Planning for Water Utilities in Manitoba

  11. Does the province have a mandatory planning requirement for potable water conservation/efficiency separate from drought emergency plans?   


  12. Does the province have the authority to approve or reject the conservation plans? 

    N/A because current sector CEP plans  are not required under legislation.  Director has authority to approve or reject plans that may be required as a license condition in individual licenses.
  13. How often does the province require the water utilities to submit a potable water conservation plan (not part of a drought emergency plan)? 

    N/A because no plans are required.

  14. If the province has a mandatory planning requirement for potable water conservation separate from drought emergency plans, is there a framework or prescribed methodology?

    N/A because no plans are required.
  15. Does the province require water utilities to implement conservation measures, beyond just the preparation and submittal of plans? 

    N/A because no plans are required.

  16. Does the province offer financial assistance to utilities, cities, or counties for urban water conservation programs such as a revolving loan fund? Grants? Bonds? Appropriations?  Bonds?  Appropriations?


    The Water Stewardship Fund (WSF) offered through the Ministry of Water Stewardship supports projects that promote and enable efficient use of water (a key priority of WSF is to conserve and reduce water use). Governments, businesses, educational institutions and others can all apply for these funds. Funding up to $25,000 is available.

    Water Smart Kits:  Effective January 1, 2010, the Province of Manitoba partnered with Manitoba Hydro to expand their Power Smart Program to include a Water Smart kit, which provided water saving fixtures for showers and faucets. 

    Canada does not have a revolving fund for infrastructure loans. Federally, the Green Municipal Fund (GMF) administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) provides grants for up to 50% of project costs, or below-market, low interest loans of up to 80% of project costs. FCM is an advocacy organization; however the Government of Canada endowed the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) with $550 million to establish the GMF program.

    The GMF funds municipal projects and studies, which have included feasibility studies of water conservation programs, water distribution system leak detection and control projects, plumbing retrofit programs, wastewater recycling, and sustainable community plans involving water conservation. In 2011, water conservation projects that reduce water use by more than 20% are a funding focus.

    The Building Canada plan is the primary mechanism in Canada for funding water and wastewater infrastructure, and encompasses a number of funds including provincial and municipal base funding, gas tax funds, and the Building Canada fund. Over half of the funding under the Building Canada plan is provided as base funding to municipalities, and the funds are generally administered by the provinces. The Building Canada fund promotes long-term funding of water infrastructure projects, including projects designed to improve conservation of water. Funding focuses on improved treatment standards that emphasize the protection of human health. The projects are required to be supported by measures that improve the management of sources of drinking water, reduce demands, and improve the management of drinking water infrastructure.

    All projects are cost shared, generally in equal thirds between federal/provincial/municipal governments. The Building Canada fund operates through two components: the Major Infrastructure Component (MIC) that targets large strategic projects of national and regional significance, and the Communities Component that focuses on projects in communities with populations of less than 100,000.

    To date, funded projects have focused on centralized infrastructure as opposed to conservation efforts, with the exception of metering. Capital cost funding projects must result in a tangible capital asset. Planning costs are also eligible, which could potentially support the development of water conservation plans.
  17. Does the province offer technical assistance for urban water conservation programs? 


    The Office of Drinking Water for the Department of Water Stewardship offers advice and technical assistance to the public regarding drinking water and conservation as part of the Water Protection Handbook.

    Through the Integrated Watershed Management Planning process, the Department of Water Stewardship along with Conservation Districts provides technical information to Manitobans on water conservation at the local watershed level.
  18. Does the province require volumetric billing?


    Volumetric billing is not required for municipalities, however Manitoba invoices self-supplied takings such as industrial uses and other use such as carwashes, water bottlers, water slides, and campgrounds with swimming pools.
  19. What percentage or number of publicly supplied water connections (residential and nonresidential) are metered in your province?

    97.4% residential and 96.8% commercial

    Municipal Water Use 2009 Summary Tables 

  20. Does the province provide ET microclimate information for urban landscapes? 


  21. Does the province have a water conservation and efficiency strategy?


    The Manitoba Water Strategy includes a policy relating to water conservation “Demand management pro-grams shall be implemented to conserve water and reduce the requirements for new water supply infrastructure.” 

  22. Does the province have standards for alternative water sources?


    Additional Information:

    Manitoba (2008) Code Consultation Final Report

    Environment Canada (2011) 2009 Municipal Water Use Statistics

    Environment Canada (2011) Municipal Water Pricing Report

    Gibbon, W (2008) Who uses water-saving fixtures in the home - Canada