The Walkerton Inquiry, as established in June 2000 by the Government of Ontario, was a public inquiry into the tragic incident of bacterial contamination of the water supply in Walkerton, Ontario in May 2000. Conservation Ontario provided recommendations to the Walkerton inquiry focused on improvements that included watershed management to protect drinking water supply.
Following the Walkerton inquiry, Justice O’Connor made 121 recommendations on a wide range of areas related to protecting drinking water. These recommendations are the building blocks of Ontario’s drinking water protection framework. The government has implemented all of the recommendations.
Source Protection Committees, Areas and Regions
The Clean Water Act was established in 2006. Under this legislation, 19 local multi-stakeholder source protection committees were established, guiding source water protection efforts in source protection areas across Ontario. The 38 source protection areas are based on: Ontario’s 36 Conservation Authorities; the Severn Sound Environmental Association; and, the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula. Some of the source protection areas are grouped into larger source protection regions.
Drinking Water Safety Net: From Source to Tap
Today, Ontario has a comprehensive drinking water safety net from source to tap. The safety net includes strong legislation, stringent standards, regular and reliable testing, highly trained, certified operators, licensing of drinking water systems, regular inspections of drinking water systems and labs that test drinking water, public reporting and a comprehensive drinking water source protection program. Ontarians can be confident that they enjoy clean and safe drinking water, and that the province will continue to take action to safeguard our water.
To learn more visit the Government of Ontario website.