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World Water Day


March 2010

This newsletter provides information and updates on issues about Ontario's Conservation Authorities.

In this iSSUE


Ten Years After Walkerton

Clean Water Act Provides Protection for Sources of Drinking Water in Ontario

Source Protection Assessment Reports Provide Information on Threats to Water Quality and Quantity

Climate Change Impacts Ontario’s Water Quality

Conservation Authority Rural Water Quality Programs


In short

Ontario Clean Water Act Protects Ontario Municipal Sources of Drinking Water  

The Clean Water Act is part of the Ontario government's commitment to implement all of the recommendations of the Walkerton Inquiry. For the first time, communities will be required to create and carry out a plan to protect the sources of their municipal drinking water supplies. LEARN MORE

Source Protection Planning

As a result of the Clean Water Act, communities in Ontario are required to develop source protection plans in order to protect their municipal sources of drinking water. These plans identify risks to local drinking water sources and develop strategies to reduce or eliminate these risks.

Find your Source Protection Region or Area.

Conservation Authorities’ Rural Water Quality Programs

Many Conservation Authorities offer Rural Water Quality programs which provide technical assistance and financial incentives to improve and protect water quality on farms and non farms often in partnership with other agencies, municipalities or government programs. LEARN MORE


Expert Panel on Climate Change Identifies Impacts to Ontario’s Water


According to the Ontario government’s Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation (2009), climate change is already affecting the quality and availability of water in Ontario.


Adaptation strategies have become necessary to react to droughts, floods, falling lake levels, drinking water quality concerns, more winter rain and earlier spring run-off. The impacts from future climate change are likely to exacerbate pressures for increased use of water in growing communities, industries and agriculture.  LEARN MORE


Conservation Ontario presentation to the Expert Panel (Feb 2009)


Conservation Authorities tackle climate change

Toronto & Region Conservation


Mississippi Valley Conservation


Nickel District Conservation Authority

Conservation Ontario E-News

World Water Day 2010

The United Nations (UN) has chosen Clean Water for a Healthy World as theme for World Water Day 2010. The overall goal of the World Water Day 2010 campaign is to raise the profile of water quality.

The UN points out that in developing countries 80 percent of all waste is being discharged untreated, because of lack of regulations and resources. And population and industrial growth add new sources of pollution and increased demand for clean water to the equation. Human and environmental health, drinking and agricultural water supplies for the present and future are at stake, still water pollution rarely warrants mention as a pressing issue.

Water quality concerns vary around the globe and while Ontario does not experience the same magnitude of problems as in some areas around the globe, there are concerns that are being addressed today.

Ontario’s 36 Conservation Authorities work with all levels of government to protect water quality in this province. Through programs such as the Ontario Drinking Water Source Protection Program and other watershed-based programs, Conservation Authorities work to ensure that Ontario’s rivers, lakes and streams are properly safeguarded, managed and restored.



Protecting Municipal Sources of Water

May 2010 will mark the 10th anniversary of the Walkerton drinking water tragedy and, unfortunately, effects are still felt today by a number of Walkerton residents.


In a recently published article in Municipal World magazine (March 2010), Conservation Ontario’s Source Protection Manager, Charley Worte, reviews key lessons we learned from the Walkerton experience and speculates how our recent source protection work could go even further using an Integrated Watershed Management approach to managing water resources in Ontario.  

Ten Years After Walkerton: Protecting Municipal Drinking Water Sources (Article)




In order to identify areas in Ontario where we need to protect water quality and quantity, Ontario’s Source Protection Committees are developing local Assessment Reports for each of the 39 Source Protection Areas in Ontario.

The Assessment Reports collect and analyze the technical studies done in the watershed. Then they identify the municipal well and intake locations which provide water to communities and assesses whether or not they are threatened in any way.

After each Assessment Report is completed and approved by the Ministry of the Environment, source protection committees can then begin the process for developing source protection plans. These plans will outline what needs to be done to reduce the risk of significant threats that exist now to municipal drinking water sources and how to prevent new ones from developing.

A number of draft Assessment Reports are available for the public to view.

Catfish Creek Source Protection Area (Lake Erie Source Protection Region)


Lower Thames Valley Source Protection Area (Upper Thames River Source Protection Region)


Niagara Peninsula Source Protection Area


Sault Ste Marie Assessment Report



Conservation Authorities’ Programs Help Adapt to Climate Change

Conservation Authorities:

Ø       monitor watershed conditions and develop integrated watershed management plans in order to maintain, restore or protect our natural resources for the long term;


Ø       map our surface & groundwater in order to know how much we have, how it’s being used and what is needed to keep the watershed healthy;


Ø       deliver Watershed Stewardship programs that work with landowners and other partners protect the quality and supply of our water;


Ø       help to protect lives and property from flooding and erosion by ensuring  that our flood and erosion plans are up to date and in line with current predicted standards;


Ø       monitor water levels within Ontario’s watersheds and raise alerts around low water levels through the local Low Water Response teams along with municipal and provincial partners;


Ø       carry out research to increase our knowledge about water and develop new approaches to protecting water;


Ø      provide education and outreach opportunities for Ontarians to learn about water.



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This bulletin is produced by:
Conservation Ontario
P.O. Box 11, 120 Bayview Parkway, Newmarket, Ontario, L3Y 4W3
Tel: 905.865.0716