Drinking Water Source Protection in Ontario

The Clean Water Act, 2006 is part of the multi-barrier approach to ensure clean, safe and sustainable drinking water for Ontarians, by protecting sources of municipal drinking water such as lakes, rivers and well water. Under this legislation, the Drinking Water Source Protection Program was established by the Government of Ontario. This resulted in the development of science-based assessment reports and local source protection plans by multi-stakeholder source protection committees, supported by Source Protection Authorities.

Multi-barrier approach to Source Water Protection

Multi-barrier approach to Source Water Protection

Source Protection Plans

The implementation of all 22 approved source protection plans is well-underway across Ontario, by various implementing bodies including municipalities, provincial ministries and Conservation Authorities. Source protection plans contain policies that either recommend or require that actions be taken to address activities identified as threats to drinking water sources. The plans are a significant milestone in improved public health. View the Source Protection Plans and Resources by Source Protection Region or Source Protection Area.

Maps of Source Protection Regions or Areas

Under the Clean Water Act, 2016, 19 Source Protection Regions (SPR) and stand-alone Source Protection Areas (SPA) were established. The SPR are groups of local SPA as well, and there are a total of 38 SPA based on Ontario’s 36 Conservation Authorities, as well as, the Severn Sound Environmental Association and the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula. 

Source Protection Regions or Areas:
Southern Ontario: English | French
Northern Ontario: English | French

Source Water Protection Information Atlas

Search a location to see if it is in a vulnerable area – that is, close to a municipal drinking water well or other drinking water intake, by viewing the provincial scale map. In these vulnerable areas certain land or water activities, if left unchecked, could pollute the water supply. If your location is in a vulnerable area, view the Source Protection Plan to find out what activities are prohibited or need to be managed.

Drinking Water Protection Zone Road Signs

Drinking Water Protection Zone Road Signs are appearing across Ontario to raise awareness of the sensitivity of our drinking water sources. Learn more about the road signs.