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Tenants and Landlords

If you are a tenant, you and your landlord can complete and sign a billing designate form. A billing designate form authorizes the City of Owen Sound to activate a water billing account in a tenant's name for the period that they will be residing at a rental property.

A billing designate form must be signed and completed in its entirety before a new water billing account will be opened. 
Failure to do so will delay the process of transferring a water account into the tenant's name(s).

You may either mail, email, or drop-off in person the completed form at least 14 business days prior to the move-in date.

*For instructions on how to add a digital signature, please read our digital signature instruction sheet.

Owners of properties occupied by Residential and Commercial Tenants requesting services with the City will be asked to:

  • Ensure the Billing Designate Application is completed in full and received by the city at least five (5) business days prior to the occupancy date.
  • Keep the City advised of any changes to the information listed on the Billing Designate Application.
  • In the event that there is only one water meter for multiple rental units or that a meter is inaccessible at a property the billing account must be an owner-held account.

Water billing accounts are attached to the property, not the customer.  This means, if you move, your account does not move with you.  You will be issued a new account number with your new property.

Below are some frequently asked questions regarding moving houses and water bills.  More info can be found in the linked
Property Tax and Water Billing Home Owner Information Package.

If you are purchasing or selling a property within Owen Sound, please complete the Property Sale/Purchase Form.  Please advise us of your upcoming move at least 14 days prior to the closing date.

I have bought an existing home, how do I sign up for water?

Property owners may call the Utilities Collection Clerk at 519-376-4440 ex 1243 or email at least 14 days prior to the closing date to provide the legal names of the owners, mailing or email address for the water bill, and a phone number we may contact you at. 

billing designate form must be signed between the landlord and tenant(s) at least 14 days prior to closing. The billing designate form allows the City of Owen Sound to activate a water billing account in a tenant’s name for the period they will be residing at the property.

Failure to provide the water billing department with a completed billing designate form will result in the water billing account being left in the landlord’s name.

Tenant(s) are responsible for the payment of water (unless otherwise agreed upon between the landlord and tenant) and are subject to disconnection if the water account falls into six-month arrears.

Call the water billing department at 519-376-4440 ex. 1243 or email to provide your closing date and forwarding address/email address at least 14 days prior to closing.

Your final or new water bill will be mailed to you at the forwarding address or email address approximately one week after receiving the final reading.  Our Water Meter reader will go to your home the day before or day of the closing date to obtain a reading. If no reading is obtained from either you or the new owner, we will finalize the account with an estimated reading.

Would you like to add, remove, or change a name on your water bill?

Please fill out and return the completed Water Billing Name Change Request Form.  

If you are a tenant moving into a new residence in the City of Owen Sound, please fill out a billing designate form (not a water billing name change request form). 

Do you own property in Owen Sound, but would like your water bill to be mailed to an alternative address? 
Please fill out a Mailing Address Change Request form

Or switch to paperless billing by completing the paperless billing enrolment form here. You will no longer receive a paper copy of your bill.

How can I conserve water?

  1. Be aware of the amount of water you use:
    One cubic metre (1 M3) of water is equal to 1,000 litres of water (or 220 gallons).
    One drip per second wastes 10 M3 or 10,000 litres of water per year.
  2. In a bathroom:
    - A single toilet accounts for 1/3 of water used in most homes!
    - Leaking toilets can be silent.  If a drop of food colouring in the tank seeps into the bowl, there is a leak.
    - Running water while brushing teeth wastes 4 M3 or 4,000 litres of water per year.
    - Install low-pressure toilets, water-saving shower heads, and low-flow faucet aerators.
  3. In the kitchen and laundry rooms:
    - Replace washers in faucets every few years, especially if you live in an older home.  You can't always hear a faucet leaking.
    - Run only full loads of dishes or laundry.
  4. Outdoors:
    - Use a rain barrel to collect run-off to water plants.
    - Water your lawn only when required.  A good way to tell if your lawn needs watering is to step on the grass.  If the grass springs back up when you move, it doesn't need water.
    - Fix leaking hoses and winterize outdoor taps.
    - Wash your car with a pail of water and rise with a trigger hose nozzle.
    - Add a layer of mulch around trees and plants.  Mulch slows evaporation, retaining moisture and discouraging weed growth.
    - Report water leaks or broken pipes.

How can I detect water leaks and what if they affect my water bill?

If you have a water leak that goes undetected, your water use will increase, leading to higher consumption charges, and, ultimately, higher water bills. 

To help avoid such instances, we have created a useful water leak detection guide for your reference. 

Even a small drip can have a huge impact on your water bill. To estimate how much water is wasted on a daily/monthly/yearly basis in your household, visit (please note: this is for estimation purposes only).

Customers may seek an adjustment to an unusually high water bill due to an undetected leak that has been fixed. 
We will offer a one-time leak adjustment per property if the criteria below are met: 

  • An adjustment will be considered after all leaks have been repaired and verified with an actual meter reading;
  • Adjustment shall not be considered for disputed bills that are over six months old;
  • Payment equivalent to a normal usage bill is required during the review process to keep your account current;
  • This form must be completed and returned within twenty-one (21) days after receiving the unusually high water bill.

For instructions and to fill out the form, please download our Leak Adjustment Form.

We're using less water but paying more - why?

The City’s water and wastewater systems are highly capital-intensive, thus the majority of the costs required to maintain this infrastructure are fixed. Therefore, the City's costs do not decrease based on the amount of water conserved. If the majority of the City’s costs remain fixed and consumption decreases, rates will increase (on a per-unit basis).

What infrastructure does the City maintain, associated with water and wastewater?

- 300 kilometres of pipes

- 11 pressure-reducing chambers

- 6 pressure zones

- 2 water pumping stations

- 8 wastewater pumping stations

- 1 water reservoir

- 1 water treatment plant

- 1 wastewater treatment plant

- 663 fire hydrants

The City of Owen Sound's Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants are located on the eastern shore in Owen Sound, on 3rd Avenue East, just north of the Bayshore Community Centre.  

Wastewater is thoroughly treated to ensure it is safe for the public's health and the environment. For a detailed description of each treatment stage, download our wastewater treatment brochure: The City of Owen Sound's Wastewater Treatment Process.

Why does the City flush water from fire hydrants?

Annual hydrant flushing takes place between May and September. This practice:

- Verifies proper operation of the hydrant

- Evaluates flow level availability to the hydrant

- Verifies the quality of water being sent to residential water customers

- Removes mineral and sediment buildup from water mains

Can we capture the water flushed from hydrants for re-use?

Current resources are not set up for collection of water being pumped out of hydrants for re-use throughout the City (watering gardens, etc.)

What is a cubic metre?

Water consumption is read in cubic metres. Every one cubic metre is equal to 1,000 litres - or 220 gallons - of water.

Owen Sound City Hall

808 2nd Avenue East

Owen Sound, ON


Phone: 519-376-4440 ext. 1243

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