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Developing Halton Region's Source Water Protection Plans

Remember …  It is the role of each Source Protection Committee to prepare a local Source Protection Plan.

Developing Source Protection Plans in Halton Region

The development of Source Protection Plans involves a co-operative working relationship between local conservation authorities, the Provincial Government, business sectors, non-governmental environmental representatives, municipalities and residents. A Source Protection Plan will be developed from best available technical information and involves collaboration of these groups in order to identify risks to local municipal drinking water sources as well as developing different approaches to eliminate or reduce these risks.

The Source Protection Committees are leading the development of Source Protection Plans for the three Source Protection Regions (watersheds) that are located within Halton Region’s municipal boundary (refer to Figure 2).  As a result, local Source Protection Plans will be developed for each Source Protection Region.

  • Halton-Hamilton Source Protection Region - Consists of Halton Region Conservation Authority (HRCA) and Hamilton Conservation Authority. See External Link
  • CTC Source Protection Region
    Consists of Credit Valley Conservation Authority (CVC) and Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. See External Link
  • Lake Erie Source Protection Region
    Consists of the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) and the Kettle Creek Conservation Authority, the Catfish Conservation Authority, The Long Point Conservation Authority. See External Link

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The creation of a Source Protection Plan involves the local development of ‘Terms of Reference’, Assessment Reports and lastly a Source Protection Plan.

Terms of Reference
This is a planning document which outlines the following: the tasks that the Source Protection Authorities (SPA) and Source Protection Committee (SPC) need to complete; the costs associated with completing each task and their timelines. The Terms of Reference is developed between the municipalities and the SPC within each Source Protection Region.
Assessment Reports

This is a locally developed, science-based report that examines municipal drinking water sources for each Source Protection Area. It identifies the risks that will need to be addressed in the Source Protection Plan. The Assessment Report will define the land area contributing water to each public water system as well as describe the available water supply. It will identify and determine any potential risks of contamination that could affect the municipal drinking water supply.

The information compiled in the Assessment Reports provides the foundation for the development of Source Protection Plans. The municipal drinking water quality threats identified in the Assessment Reports are based on a conservative process which is intended to provide a comprehensive scan of any and all activities (both existing and future) that may be occurring and have the potential to affect municipal drinking water supplies. It is further recognized that many of the activities identified will not pose a substantial threat to the municipal water supply if appropriately managed.

Source Protection Plan
Each Source Protection Committee will develop a Source Protection Plan that contains policies to address significant drinking water threats. The Plan must be submitted to the Ministry of the Environment by August 20, 2012. The Source Protection Plan will identify who is responsible for taking action, establish timelines and establish policies governing the monitoring of municipal drinking water threats.

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How Will Significant Threats Be Dealt With?

Source Protection Plans outline how different identified threats to drinking water sources will be reduced or eliminated as well as ways in which future threats will be avoided. There are a variety of different policy options available that could be used including:
  • Prescribed Instruments
    This involves using an existing legal document issued by the Provincial government allowing an activity to be carried out (Nutrient Management Plan, Environmental Certification of Approval, etc.).
  • Risk Management Plans
    This involves the negotiation between a Risk Management Official and the landowner to regulate how an activity that is a significant drinking water threat is managed.
  • Land Use Planning
    Land use planning involves using current or new by-laws and land use zoning to address current and future threats to water sources.
  • Education and Outreach
    Distributing information to educate residents and businesses on water protection activities.
  • Prohibition 
    As a last resort
    prohibiting or restricting land use activities which have been identified as drinking water threats.

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What can I do?

  1. Educate yourself on the Proposed Source Water Protection Plans. Participate in public forums/meetings and provide comments to the Source Protection Committees regarding any questions or concerns.
  2. Learn where high risk areas of your community are. Work to help implement changes on a community level.

Info for Private Well Owners

It is recommended that water quality in private wells be tested at least three times a year. Halton Region provides this service free of charge. Find out more.

For more information, see the Ministry of the Environment's websiteExternal Link

Public Participation in Source Water Protection

Having public support and involvement in the planning and protection of our local drinking water sources is essential. Landowners are asked to look at their land use practices and wherever possible to reduce any risks of contamination or source water depletion.
The Clean Water Act, 2006 requires public participation on every local Source Water Assessment and Source Protection Plan, developed by the Source Protection Committee.

Landowners, residents, businesses and the general public are invited to attend a number of public open houses on the draft Proposed Source Protection Plans in Spring, 2012. The Committees will be advertising these sessions in local and regional newspapers and mailing notices to affected landowners. The Source Protection Committees will be reviewing the feedback received during this period and consider potential revisions to the Plan.

After this first round of public consultation, a second period of public consultation will be initiated in Summer, 2012. During this time, the public can review the Plans and submit comments to the Source Protection Committees. These comments will be attached to the final submission of the Plan to the Minister of the Environment in August 2012.

The Proposed Source Protection Plans are available online and in hard copy at local Conservation Authorities and at Regional/local municipal libraries.
For more information on the timelines for public consultation, Source Water Protection Plan review locations and submission of comments, please visit the following Source Protection Committee webpage links:

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The figure below provides a simplified illustration of the current timeline of the Source Protection planning process (this timeline may be subject to change).

Source Protection Plan - Current Timelines

Once approved by the Ministry of the Environment, the Source Protection Plan will be implemented, monitored and updated approximately every 5 years.

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