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

Watch our video to find out more on Drinking Water Source Protection in Ontario. Our actions matter. Everyone plays a role in helping to protect our sources of drinking water. Here are some quick tips on things you can do at home to protect and conserve water: Rural | Urban

Useful Resources

We are pleased to share several useful resources including factsheets, infographics and social media memes to support the work you do to protect municipal drinking water sources in Ontario. 

The Government of Ontario Resource Catalogue for Education and Outreach Policies, including “Campaign in a Box Toolkit” provides tools to support education, outreach, communications and engagement for policy implementing bodies.

A Good Practices Guidance for Winter Maintenance in Salt Vulnerable Areas was developed by a multi-stakeholder group, chaired by the Ontario Good Roads Association and Conservation Ontario. These practices can be considered by municipalities, contractors, and risk management officials under the Clean Water Act. 

Find several Conservation Ontario resources for municipal councillors, water treatment operators, planners, aggregate and fuel industries, real estate salespersons, road salt users, and others. Local resources are also available as described below.

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, 2006, 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.

Download the Drinking Water Protection Road Sign (1, 2)