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Source Water Protection

"Source water" refers to the lakes, rivers and aquifers from which we get the water we drink.

Ontario protects our source water through the Clean Water Act which:

“Helps protect drinking water at the source, as part of an overall commitment to safeguard human health and the environment.Requires local Source Protection Committees assess existing and potential threats to their water, and that they set out and implement the actions needed to reduce or eliminate these threats. “

More than two million Ontario residents get their drinking water directly from surface or groundwater sources and do not have access to water treatment systems. By protecting water at the source we ensure these people have a safe and healthy source of drinking water. (Drinking Water Source Protection Act for Clean Water, Frequently Asked Questions).

Ontario residents will start to see new "Drinking Water Protection Zone" signs throughout local municipalities. The signs are being posted to protect our health and raise awareness about our drinking water sources.

You will notice the sign if you are driving through a vulnerable drinking water protection zone area. The signs show were pollution spills could have a significant impact on municipal drinking water sources.

Drinking Water Protection Zone

There are 11 source protection regions and 8 source protection areas in Ontario. The source water protection committee appoints members under the authority of the Clean Water Act (Ontario regulation 288/07 - to view the regulation visit E-Laws).

Source protection committees consist of strong municipal representation and can also include conservation authorities, farmers, small businesses and a range of other stakeholders within the watershed. Through the source protection committee, municipalities will work to identify, assess and address risks to drinking water within their municipal wellhead and intake protection areas. The Health Unit provides two representatives as a liaison for our local committee. (The Clean Water Act, Ministry of Environment, November 2008)

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