An Interview with #UMF2015 Keynote Speaker Carl Yates

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Carl Yates

After the 2007 transfer of wastewater and stormwater assets from Halifax municipality to Halifax Water, the utility has the privilege of providing services to customers through a “one water” lens.


Utility Management Forum 2015
October 19th, 2015

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Carl Yates has extensive experience in the water utility profession having served as Project Engineer, Chief Engineer and General Manager of the Halifax Water Commission from 1988 to 1996. In 1996, he was appointed General Manager of the Halifax Regional Water Commission which assumed a regional mandate after the municipal amalgamation of the greater Halifax area in 1996. In 2007, Mr. Yates oversaw the formation of the first regulated water, wastewater and stormwater utility in Canada with the transfer of wastewater and stormwater assets from the Halifax Regional Municipality. Halifax Water is a body corporate municipal utility, generating approximately 130 million dollars in annual revenue with assets of over $2 Billion. We caught up with Carl, to ask him about his experience working in the Water Utility Sector and about his keynote address at The Utility Management Forum on October 19th, 2015. 

Join Carl and Utility Managers from across Ontario at #UMF2015! Register here.

How did you end up working in the water utility sector? 

I have always had an interest in water growing up in the Town of Deer Lake, Newfoundland a town put on the map through a major hydroelectric project.  The infrastructure associated with the project which included a water supply for the town gave me an appreciation of the importance of water and the engineering that is necessary for these major projects. My interests led me to a University degree in engineering and upon graduation in 1984 ,a job with an engineering consulting firm, Jacques Whitford gave me the opportunity to broaden my civil engineering experience.  With this experience, I joined the engineering department of the Halifax Water Commission in 1988 and as the utility’s mandate grew, so did my responsibilities and career.

What are the biggest opportunities you see for your organization? 

After the  2007 transfer of wastewater and stormwater assets from Halifax municipality to Halifax Water, the utility has  the privilege of providing services to customers through a “one water” lens.  In 2007, Halifax Water became the first regulated [from a business sense] and integrated water, wastewater and stormwater utility in Canada.

How have you seen the water utility sector change over the course of your career? Where do you imagine we will be 20 years from now?

I have seen a significant change through regionalization and expanded mandates to foster the “one water” theme. In 20 years I expect we will see more integrated utilities with a broader mandate to include stormwater as a utility service

What is the single most important issue or challenge facing the water utility sector today? What can be done to begin solving this issue?

Ensuring customers and society appreciate the value of water services and support the notion of financial sustainability. Solutions start with good governance and the recognition that utilities must take the long view for sustainability

What is the focus of your Keynote Address at The Utility Management Forum? 

Sustainable funding approach for service delivery.