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History of Halifax Water

Our purpose is to supply and safeguard sustainable, high-quality water services.

We exist to provide essential water, wastewater and stormwater services to our customers and to protect our natural environment for the betterment of Halifax municipality. We take this responsibility seriously and are driven to meet or exceed industry best practice.

History of Halifax Water

Although Halifax Water’s present structure has existed since 1945, its creation was related to earlier events. As with any growing metropolis throughout the last century, the former City of Halifax had struggled to meet the ever-increasing demands of its residents for clean, safe drinking water.

In 1861, after serious degradation, the water supply system was purchased by the city from a private company and operated in one form or another for 75 years, without ever resolving its maintenance and wastage problems.

Installing a 24inch watermain on Dutch Village Rd in 1945

Ravaged by two World Wars and the Great Depression, by 1943, Halifax's water supply had deteriorated to a critical condition. Responding to a government-commissioned report on the need for a complete overhaul of the system, the city, on January 1, 1945, formed the Public Service Commission (renamed the Halifax Water Commission in 1987) to operate and manage the water utility.

Eight years later, in 1952, the Water Commission purchased the assets of the water system outright from the city of Halifax to ensure that the utility operated in a business-like manner. This business-like approach has enabled Halifax Water to continually improve and upgrade the water supply system by funding operational and capital expenditures directly from potable water and fire protection revenue, without any financial assistance from the municipal government.

Given a mandate to own and operate the city's water supply, Halifax Water has transformed the water supply system into a modern, efficient and financially sound operation providing high quality water and service to its customers. In 1977, the Pockwock water supply system was brought on line, on time and on budget. Through sound financial planning, the debt for the Pockwock system was retired in the year 2000.

On April 1, 1996, as a result of metro amalgamation, the Dartmouth and Halifax County water utilities were merged with the Halifax Water Commission, bringing with it, new challenges and opportunities. In response to a pressing need for high quality water in the Dartmouth area, the Commission constructed a new water treatment plant at Lake Major and associated transmission system. The project was completed in December, 1998, on time and on budget with minimal disruption to customers.

On August 1, 2007, the Commission expanded its mandate once again with the transfer of Halifax’s wastewater and stormwater assets to Halifax Water, and became the first regulated water, wastewater and stormwater utility in Canada.

With wastewater and stormwater governance established under the purview of the Halifax Water Board and the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, the focus of Halifax Water is to improve asset management, secure stable funding, and meet Provincial and Federal regulatory requirements. The 2007 merger provided a sound framework to deliver water, wastewater and stormwater services in an integrated, cost effective, and environmentally sound manner. To that end, significant investments have and will continue to be made in these critical services for the betterment of the customers we serve and the environment we protect.