Protecting Local Drinking Water

tap water in glass

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 havemulti-barrier approach 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.

Clean Water Act

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.

Cataraqui Source Protection AreaCataraqui Source Protection Area Map

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.



Official Notices

Our Proposed Source Protection Plan together with comments received on the plan was sent to the Minister of Environment in August 2012.

We received comments and made changes to the plan. It was re-submitted in May 2014. View the revised plan here.


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