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Protecting Drinking Water in South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe

News Release

Protecting Drinking Water in South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe

Ontario Supports Actions to Safeguard Drinking Water

Ontario has approved the South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe Source Protection Plan to strengthen local source-to-tap drinking water protection.

The plan was developed by local municipal and community partners on the South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe source protection committee. Partners included the Chippewas of Rama First Nation. The plan will take effect July 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.

Actions set out in South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe plan include:

  • Providing information to residents on best practices for maintaining septic systems, livestock grazing and pasturing areas, handling and storage of salt or fuel, and applying or storing pesticides, manure or other fertilizers.
  • Creating risk-management plans for activities, such as application and storage of snow, salt, fertilizer and manure that contribute chloride, sodium or nitrate to source water.
  • Producing and placing road signs to identify drinking water protection zones.

Protecting drinking water is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

Quick Facts

  • The region has complex geology and physiography, including portions of the Niagara Escarpment, Oak Ridges Moraine, Oro Moraine, Peterborough Drumlin Fields, Simcoe Uplands and Lowlands, and the Canadian Shield.
  • More than one million people live here, with the highest concentration in the Lake Simcoe watershed, particularly in the communities of Barrie and Newmarket.
  • Of the 111 municipal drinking water systems here, 79 systems draw water from a groundwater source, such as an aquifer, eight draw water from a surface source, and the remaining 24 use both a groundwater and a surface source.
  • This is the first approved plan to include a First Nations drinking water system.

Additional Resources


“Few things are as important to our health as having safe water to drink. Ontario’s multi-barrier 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.”

Glen Murray

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

“This is a momentous occasion for us. This drinking water source protection plan is an example of locally developed, inclusive, community-based decision-making at its best. We are really pleased with the process that we took and with the final product.”

Lynn Dollin

chair of the South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe source protection committee

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Environment and Energy