CASE STUDY: Mountainoak Cheese

A strategic and integrated approach to water management

Mountainoak Cheese is undergoing significant growth in its cheese production business. Their goal is to increase production to meet rising demand for their Gouda cheeses. However, the existing on-site well that provides water cannot support this production expansion. There is a significant ‘water supply gap’.

Mountainoak Projected Water Demand

“In 2015, we had growth around 50 percent and sales have increased another 25 to 30 percent this year. We need more water. And we won’t be able to grow unless we get more water.”

Adam van Bergeijk, Owner, Mountainoak Cheese

In addition, since Mountainoak operates a vertically integrated business operation, they also need to have a long-term and sustainable high quality water supply for their crops and dairy farm.

This pilot project demonstrated the value of taking a holistic and integrated approach to water management to support business growth. The learning’s and outcomes have not only benefited Mountainoak Cheese, they also provide an approach that can be used by other dairy farmers, cheese makers and food and beverage processors across Ontario.


  • Formulated an integrated water management strategy for Mountainoak
  • Prepared a process flow diagram to show on-site water supply sources, where water is being used, how wastewater and whey are being managed, and the interconnections
  • Developed a water monitoring and sampling plan to establish ‘baseline conditions’ on current water consumption and to characterize wastewater generation
  • Developed projections of future water supply requirements as cheese production grows
  • Conducted a preliminary investigation and analysis of water supply options
  • Laid out a ‘solution path’ moving forward


  • Recognized the benefits of taking a more strategic and business minded approach to water management
  • Gained a more accurate understanding of where and how much water is used in their operation
  • Enhanced their understanding of the importance of water efficiency practices to conserve ‘every drop’
  • Increased their knowledge and confidence in the different water supply options that are available to support their cheese production growth plans