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Province Protecting Sources of Drinking Water in Southwestern Ontario

News Release

Province Protecting Sources of Drinking Water in Southwestern Ontario

Ontario Approves Plans for Saugeen, Grey Sauble and Northern Bruce Peninsula Watersheds

Ontario has approved plans to protect sources of drinking water in the Saugeen Valley, Grey Sauble and the Northern Bruce Peninsula watersheds.

The source protection plans, developed by local municipal and community partners, will take effect July 1, 2016.

Source protection plans are 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.

These approved plans will help the regions:

  • Create management plans to help communities reduce the risks associated with manure, livestock, road salt, solvents, pesticides, fuel, commercial fertilizers and liquid industrial waste runoff in sources of drinking water
  • Implement an on-site sewage system maintenance inspection program
  • Monitor the implementation and effectiveness of targets and goals outlined in the plan.

Ontario has now approved 20 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.

Quick Facts

  • 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.
  • The Saugeen Valley, Grey Sauble, Northern Bruce Peninsula source protection region consists of three watersheds by those names.
  • The region has 38 municipal drinking water systems, which service 65 per cent of the 160,000 residents. The remaining 35 per cent use private drinking water systems or wells.
  • Twenty-nine systems draw water from a groundwater source, eight take water from a surface water source, and one system uses both groundwater and surface water.
  • Ontario recently passed the 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.

Additional Resources


“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.”

Glen Murray

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

“Our mission from the start has been to provide leadership to engage the entire community in developing comprehensive, responsible solutions to protect our water resources. The source protection committee is confident that the policies developed in the minister approved plan will protect local sources of drinking water now and in the future.”

Mike Traynor

chair of the Saugeen, Grey Sauble, Northern Bruce Peninsula source protection committee

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