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Protecting Mississippi-Rideau-Area Drinking Water

Archived News Release

Protecting Mississippi-Rideau-Area Drinking Water

Ontario Supports Actions to Safeguard Drinking Water

Ontario has approved the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan to strengthen local source-to-tap drinking water protection.  

The plan, developed by local municipal and community partners on the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Committee, will take effect Jan.1, 2015.

Source protection plans are designed to protect the water quality of the lakes, rivers and  sources of underground water that supply municipal drinking water systems. The plans set out actions to eliminate, manage or reduce potential risks to drinking water sources.

Under the plan, Mississippi-Rideau will:

  • Establish maintenance and inspection programs for septic systems to meet Building Code requirements.
  • Create risk-management plans for handling and storing pesticides, fuel and manure, as well as for existing waste sites and storm water facilities.
  • Produce and place road signs to identify wellhead protection areas and intake protection zones.

Protecting drinking water enhances quality of life for Ontario families and supports sustainable communities now and into the future. This is part of the government's plan to invest in people, build modern infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate.

Quick Facts

  • The Clean Water Act established 19 local committees across Ontario. Each committee developed science-based plans that address contamination risks to municipal drinking water sources.
  • The Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection region consists of two source protection areas — the Mississippi Valley and the Rideau Valley. It covers 8,500 square kilometres, has 31 municipalities and 865,000 residents.
  • The Mississippi-Rideau source protection region’s 12 municipal drinking water systems serve almost 80 per cent of the area’s residents. The rest of the residents use private wells or private drinking water systems.
  • Seven municipal drinking water systems draw water from a groundwater source, such as an aquifer, while five others get water from a local river, such as the Tay, Rideau, Ottawa, or Mississippi rivers.

Additional Resources


“Few things are as important to our health and wellbeing as having safe water to drink. Protecting the sources that supply our drinking water is the first step in keeping our drinking water safe and helps ensure we never have another Walkerton incident.”

Glen Murray

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

“The Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan is the culmination of many years of work by the Source Protection Committee, municipalities, and a great deal of valuable input from provincial ministries, interest groups, local residents, and the broader public. The result is a plan that balances economic and practical considerations with strong policies that will afford a high level of protection for this very important natural resource — our shared drinking water sources.”

Janet Stavinga

Chair, Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Committee

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Environment and Energy