Source water protection means protecting our sources of drinking water from contamination or overuse. These sources of water can include surface water, such as lakes, rivers or streams, or groundwater that supplies our wells.
The provincial government passed the Clean Water Act, on October 19, 2006. It provides the legislative basis for source water protection planning.
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.
Source water protection is the first barrier in a multi-barrier approach to protect our drinking water. This multi-barrier approach uses a combination of techniques:
Of course, the multi-barrier approach applies mainly to municipal water systems. In most of our rural areas where people rely on wells or surface water intakes for their drinking water, source water protection is often the only barrier available to protect drinking water.
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.
Ontario’s Conservation Authorities are recognized for their watershed management knowledge, and connections to local communities. Conservation Authorities have been asked by the province to coordinate a multi-year planning process involving municipalities, community organizations, industries and residents. The plans will be prepared on a watershed basis, either for individual watersheds or groups of watersheds.
For a quick overview of drinking water source protection click here to view our 2012-2013 video on YouTube.
Our Source Protection Plan is now complete.
The Plan together with comments received on the plan was sent to the Minister of Environment in August 2012.
Click here to view the plan.
The Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Program has concluded effective October 2013. If additional funds become available, landowners will be notified and information will be posted on this site.
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