Province Protecting Drinking Water Sources in Southwestern Ontario
Ontario Approves Plan for Long Point-Area Watersheds
Ontario has approved a plan to protect sources of drinking water in the Long Point-area watersheds on the north shore of Lake Erie.
The source protection plan, developed by local municipal and community partners, will take effect July 1, 2016.
Source protection plans are locally developed, science-based plans designed to protect the health 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.
This approved plan will help the area:
- Create management plans to help communities reduce the risks associated with certain waste disposal sites, manure, livestock, road salt, solvents, pesticides, fuel and commercial fertilizers
- Implement education and outreach programs that promote best management practices for the risks associated with manure and biosolids, fertilizers, pesticides, livestock, waste, sewage systems, and solvents
- Monitor the implementation and effectiveness of targets and goals outlined in the plan.
Ontario has now approved 21 of 22 source water protection plans from areas across the province, and expects to approve the last plan by the end of the year. Together, the plans will cover areas where 95 per cent of the province's population live.
Protecting the province's clean drinking water and the environment is 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.
- The Long Point source protection area contains 10 main watercourses (streams and rivers), which drain directly into Lake Erie.
- The region has 15 municipal residential drinking water systems, which service 52 per cent of the area’s 110,000 residents. The remaining population receives its drinking water from non-municipal systems, such as private wells or intakes, communal systems and cisterns that supply public and private facilities, such as schools, community centres and trailer parks.
- Eleven systems draw water from groundwater wells; four systems draw water from surface water sources.
- 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.
“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.”
“Formal approval of the Long Point Region Plan to protect and enhance sources of drinking water is a milestone achieved through the committee’s collaborative work with its community, conservation authority, municipal and provincial partners. We look forward to monitoring and measuring the plan’s success.”
Wendy Wright Cascaden