Located in Southern Ontario, the Region of Waterloo provides over 60% of municipal services to an expanding population of 570,000 people. One of their key commitments is to create a thriving and sustainable community for its residents by taking innovative approaches to how it manages water supply, social services, public health, public transit, emergency planning and much more.
To keep its drinking water safe, the province of Ontario has adapted several different safeguards, which include protecting the surface and ground water that supplies municipal drinking water systems. On top of that, Ontario regions – like the Region of Waterloo – must also be compliant with the Clean Water Act, which directs communities to produce locally-driven and science-based Source Protection Plans that analyze where risks could occur as well as prevention methods.
One such requirement includes how development applications and building permits within source water protection areas are vetted to ensure that all activities taking place in those areas are adhering to Source Protection Plan policies.
Not only is the Region of Waterloo responsible for manually assessing all new development applications (hundreds per year), but they were also tasked with providing Source Protection Plan tools for the thousands of current activities that were already underway in those protection zones. This arduous task involved collecting and managing comprehensive data, like inspections, types of tasks carried out, correspondences and more.
Through the use of GIS and Geocortex technology, the Region developed a solution called the Threats and Policy System (TAPS), which comprised of two key elements, TAPS Public and TAPS Admin.
TAPS Public gives users the ability to view how the Source Protection Plan will affect their proposed activities, which includes generate a property report that outlines prohibited activities or items that may require a Risk Management Plan. Additionally, this system also allows users to apply for a Notice of Source Protection Plan Compliance via a questionnaire.
TAPS Admin enables Region staff to manage all of the data associated with each property that is created by public and internal users. Through the use of alerts and workflows, this solution can inform staff of responsibilities that require their attention while also helping enhance how activities are managed and supported through its developmental stages.
Since TAPS was implemented, both staff and members of the public have been benefiting tremendously from the program. Public users have used it to generate over a thousand compliance notices instantly, something that would have previously taken Region staff around 15-20 minutes (per notice) to manually produce, ultimately freeing up over 250 hours of manual staff time.