Source water protection means protecting our sources of drinking water from contamination or overuse.
We need to ensure that we have enough clean water now and in the future.
Our drinking water comes from lakes, rivers or streams, or groundwater that supplies our wells.
For a quick overview of drinking water source protection view our video on YouTube.
In 2000, the Walkerton tragedy showed us how vulnerable our drinking water can be when it is not managed properly. The Walkerton Report called for many changes to how we manage drinking water in Ontario. A number of the recommendations emphasized the need for source water protection. The report also recommended that this be done on a watershed basis by Conservation Authorities.
More recent problems with drinking water in the communities of Roblin and Manotick have illustrated how important it is to protect sources of drinking water from pollution. It is much easier and cheaper to keep water clean than it is to clean up a pollution problem.
The provincial government passed the Clean Water Act, on October 19, 2006. It provides the legal basis for source water protection planning.
It requires the identification of risks or threats to drinking water sources and a plan to address them.
Source water protection planning keeps our water clean not just for drinking purposes, but also for fish, wildlife and recreation. This is vital to the Cataraqui Region with our abundance of lakes, the Rideau Canal, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
The Cataraqui Source Protection Area includes12 municipalities from Greater Napanee in the west to Brockville in the east.
There are 12 municipal drinking water systems that serve about 170,000 people. In the rural part of our Source Protection Area most of our residents rely on individual wells that use groundwater.