Peterborough Watershed Plan - About

City building

Project logo with hills, a river and peterborough wave symbol

Our Watershed, Our Blueprint is a Watershed Planning Study that will provide a framework for the protection and management of water resources. This study will assess the cumulative impacts of activities across the watershed and ultimately help the City make decisions relating to planning for growth and land use within the watershed.

The Peterborough Sustainability Plan identifies a watershed plan as a priority action for both the City and County to make wise use of water, to enhance water quality and quantity and to ensure that future generations can use Peterborough’s watersheds to drink, fish and swim. Both the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2017) and the Provincial Policy Statement (2014) identify policy direction for municipalities to undertake watershed planning. 



 How can I participate in the process?
The community’s voice is an integral part of the project process. By asking for the community’s knowledge of issues, constraints and opportunities as well as ideas to shape the vision and goals, the study and eventual Plan can be tailored to address local feedback and concerns. Community feedback will also contribute to the consultant team’s knowledge of local issues. The engagement plan for this project has two principle goals:
  1. To provide key stakeholders, community organizations and the public with the opportunity to provide input and feedback to inform the Watershed Plan; and
  2. To raise awareness regarding the development of the plan and the importance of watershed planning in general.

There are many ways for community members to provide their feedback. Engagement opportunities will be provided throughout the course of the study to answer questions and seek feedback on issues, opportunities, vision and goals for the study as well as opportunities to review.

This project webpage has information on events where you can have conversations and provide feedback with members of the project team. 

 Who is involved in the project?
  • The project is being led by the City of Peterborough with technical expertise provided by Aquafor Beech Limited in association with EarthFX, LURA Consulting and SGL Planning and Design Inc.
  • The project will benefit from the insights of a Watershed Coordinating Committee (WCC) comprised of planning authorities, the conservation authority and local First Nations within the subject watersheds. The WCC has a consultative role and serves to better facilitate information sharing, input and dialogue. The WCC will communicate information about and provide/obtain information on topics related to the Watershed Plan.
  • In addition, a Technical Working Group (TWG) has been formed to solicit direct feedback from local experts with technical knowledge of water quality, hydrology and hydraulics, infrastructure, natural heritage, climate change, or other relevant disciplines. The TWG will ensure local research and knowledge is integrated into the Watershed Plan. 
 Will there be a public record of the input collected?
All community input will be summarized in an Engagement Report at the completion of all phases of the project. The Phase 1 Engagement Summary is now available. 
  Who can I contact if I have questions?

Ian Boland, Senior Watershed Project Manager


Phone: 705-742-7777 extension 1504

About the project

Below is a list of questions and answers to provide you more information on the Peterborough Watershed Plan. We'll continue to update this list throughout the engagement process with commonly asked questions.

 What is a watershed?

A watershed is the physical area of land where all water drains to a single point such as a lake, river or stream. A watershed can be large and small.

For example, in the City of Peterborough, all water that flows along a surface eventually makes it's way to the Otonabee River, and is part of the Otonabee River watershed. However, that same water may first flow to a creek or stream like Jackson Creek, and therefore it would also be part of the Jackson Creek watershed. Jackson Creek would be referred to as a sub-watershed to the Otonabee River. 

Within the Watershed Planning Study, the City will be reviewing the primary sub-watersheds that are within or adjacent to the City of Peterborough.

How will the watershed plan impact me?
  • Create a vision, with a set of goals, objectives and direction or targets for protecting water resources from land-use and climate change;
  • Identify areas to be protected, enhanced and rehabilitated;
  • Create or revise land-use and infrastructure policy for the protection and enhancement of the water resource system;
  • Create development and infrastructure guidelines; a “how to” adhere to, implement and adapt the watershed plan and polices;
  • Detail the requirements for ongoing monitoring and verification of defined targets; and
  • Create relationships to further the local stewardship, education and outreach initiatives focused on watershed protection and climate adaptation. 
 What is watershed planning?
Ontario’s Growth Plan (2017) identifies watershed planning as a process to provide a “framework for establishing goals, objectives and direction for the protection of water resources, the management of human activities, land, water, aquatic life, and resources within a watershed and for the assessment of cumulative, cross-jurisdictional, and cross-watershed impacts.”
 What is a watershed plan?
A document that identifies a series of actions or activities to protect, manage, and enhance the natural environment within a watershed boundary.
 What is the water resource system?
“A system consisting of ground water features and areas, and surface water features (including shoreline areas), and hydrologic functions, which provide the water resources necessary to sustain healthy aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and human water consumption. The water resource system will comprise key hydrologic features and key hydrologic areas.” Provincial Policy Statement (2014).
 Why is the City developing a watershed plan?
The City does not currently have a comprehensive Watershed Plan for any of the watersheds in its jurisdictions. Developing a plan will assist with sustainably achieving forecasted growth targets, infrastructure expansion, adaptation to climate change, and protecting and restoring the environment. 
 How does the watershed study link to the Official Plan update?
The City of Peterborough’s Official Plan (OP) guides the long-term growth and development of the City. It describes the goals, objectives and policies which guide our land use decisions. The impact of land use strategies on the watershed will be evaluated during the development of the Watershed Plan. Intensification and future growth areas, as identified in the Official Plan update, will be assessed for impacts to both natural components of the watershed and critical infrastructure. 
 What are the timelines for this study process?
This study process is divided into three phases. The timing for each phase is below:


Phase 1 - Watershed Characterization; including identifying issues, opportunities, vision and goals: June 2019 – October 2019


Phase 2 - Watershed Planning Elements and Study Components; including identifying potential solutions and scenarios: January 2020 – September 2020

Watershed planning elements include:

  • Water quantity and water budget
  • Water quality
  • Natural hazards
  • Climate change
  • Natural heritage
  • Cumulative effects
  • Land-use and management


Phase 3 - Plan Development and Implementation Planning: October 2020 – February 2021


The Engagement process for this study will begin in June 2019 and will continue until February 2021. The study report is expected to be completed by March 2021. 


Below is a list of upcoming events that you can attend on the Peterborough Watershed Plan. Events will be updated with exact times and dates as they come up. Check back for more information! 

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