Province Protecting Sources of Drinking Water in Southwestern Ontario
Ontario Approves Thames-Sydenham and Region Source Water Protection Plans
Ontario has approved plans to protect sources of drinking water in the Thames and Sydenham region.
The Thames-Sydenham source water protection plans were developed by local municipal and community partners and will take effect Dec. 31, 2015.
Source protection plans are local science-based plans 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.
The approved plans will help the region:
- Create management plans to reduce the risks associated with waste disposal sites, manure, livestock grazing, road salt, solvents, fuel and commercial fertilizers
- Collaborate to develop programs that promote best practices for reducing algal blooms
- Implement an on-site sewage system maintenance inspection program
- Monitor the implementation and effectiveness of measures outlined in the plan.
Ontario has now approved 19 of 22 source water protection plans from areas across the province, and expects to approve the remaining plans by the end of the year. Together those plans will cover areas where 95 per cent of the province's population live.
Protecting the province's clean drinking water and the environment are part of the government's plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.
- The Clean Water Act established 19 local committees across Ontario. Each committee developed science-based plans that address risks to the water that supply municipal drinking water systems.
- Three watersheds - Lower Thames Valley, Upper Thames River and the St. Clair Region - make up the Thames-Sydenham source protection region. The region has 30 municipal drinking water systems and one First Nation drinking water system.
- Twenty-three systems draw water from a groundwater source and eight take water from Lakes Huron and Erie, or the St. Clair River.
- Earlier this year, Ontario introduced the proposed Great Lakes Protection Act, building on existing Great Lakes partnerships for joint action to fight climate change, reduce harmful algal blooms, protect wetlands and tackle other complex problems in the Great Lakes basin.
“Few things are as important to our health as having safe water to drink. Ontario’s approach to protect drinking water has made our tap water among the best protected in the world. Protecting the sources of drinking water - our lakes, rivers and groundwater - is the foundation of our safety net.”
“We are pleased that the Thames-Sydenham and Region Source Protection plan has been approved. The committee agreed early that the plan would be fair and equitable to all of the region’s residents and would be based on sound science. We are confident that this plan will protect municipal sources of drinking water for future generations. We would also like to recognize those that helped to shape our decision-making; namely our municipalities, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and Conservation Ontario.”