DRINKING WATER SOURCE PROTECTION
Water is critical to all aspects of our lives and it is important that we ensure there is a safe and reliable source of water for all our uses - now and in the future.
Everyone should be able to trust that the water they drink is safe. Protecting the sources of our drinking water – lakes, rivers or underground aquifers – is the first step in ensuring safe drinking water. All of these sources of water are linked in a watershed through the water cycle. It is important to protect these sources of drinking water from becoming contaminated or depleted because it can be expensive or impossible to correct. This is the goal of source water protection.
In 2000, the Walkerton tragedy showed us how vulnerable our drinking water can be when not managed properly. The Clean Water Act was passed in 2006 by the Ontario legislature to protect municipal drinking water sources throughout Ontario.
Under the Clean Water Act, conservation authorities are grouped together into source protection regions for the purpose of sharing resources and expertise. Four conservation authorities that manage watersheds along the north shore of Lake Erie work together as the Lake Erie Source Protection Region; they are:
- Catfish Creek Conservation Authority
- Grand River Conservation Authority
- Kettle Creek Conservation Authority
- Long Point Region Conservation Authority
This co-operative approach reduces duplication of effort and efficiently leverages existing knowledge and staff. Staff from the conservation authorities work together with municipal partners to gather information and conduct studies; these form the foundation of source water protection plans.
Even though research staff works together, each watershed has its own source protection plan that is administered locally. LPRCA has worked together with local municipalities, other stakeholders and the public to develop a Source Protection Plan that serve to protect municipal drinking water while taking into account the other needs of our communities. The Long Point Region Source Protection Plan can be found here: https://www.sourcewater.ca/en/source-protection-areas/Long-Point-Region-Source-Protection-Plan.aspx
To learn more about the Clean Water Act and drinking water source protection, please go to the Lake Erie Source Protection Region website.
A Local Plan
Drinking Water Source Protection has been identified as the first line of defense in protecting Ontario's drinking water. The Clean Water Act, its regulations and other provincial guidance documents outlined a process to develop a source protection plan for the Long Point Region watershed. This work has been guided by the Lake Erie Region Source Protection Committee and involved municipalities, farmers, businesses, industry, residents and others.
Drinking Water Source Protection has allowed for the identification of risks to municipal water quality and water quantity supplies, and the creation of a plan to reduce those risks.
The Assessment Report delineated areas that are vulnerable and identified potential threats; while the Source Protection Plan includes policies to deal with these threats to municipal drinking water sources.
The Municipality of Bayham and Haldimand, Norfolk and Oxford Counties manage eleven municipal drinking water systems that are sourced by waters from within the Long Point Region Source Protection Area. Seven of these systems draw water from groundwater sources; one system is supplied by both groundwater and surface water; and three systems are supplied by intakes in Lake Erie.
We all have a role to play in caring for our water. If we want clean water tomorrow, we need to protect our sources of water today.
To learn more about drinking water source protection in the Long Point Region watershed, visit https://www.sourcewater.ca/en/source-protection-areas/Long-Point-Region.aspx
Explore Drinking Water Ontario to learn how our water is protected - every step of the way – from source to tap.