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Understanding Source Water Protection

Learn about how Halton Region engages in source water protection - a preventative approach that safeguards our drinking water sources.

Source water protection safeguards drinking water sources from contamination and overuse. It does this by managing how humans and nature impact water quality.

Our water comes from two sources:

  • Surface water includes lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands.
  • Groundwater includes water found in soil, in cracks in underwater rock, or aquifers.

Each of these water sources affects the other.

We don’t have an infinite supply of fresh water. Most of our water is re-used through the natural water cycle:

  • Water falls to earth as precipitation (rain, snow).
  • Plants and earth absorb rainfall, or it runs off into streams, rivers and lakes.
  • It evaporates back into the atmosphere.
  • Repeat!

Several factors can have a negative impact on the quality of both ground water and surface water. Some of these are:

  • human activity
  • land use practices
  • natural contaminants
  • climate change.

The chart below shows the ways contaminating one water source can affect the other.

Threats to Drinking Water Sources

Here are some common threats to drinking water sources.

  • Application, handling and storage of commercial fertilizers
  • Application, handling and storage of pesticides
  • Application, handling and storage of road salt
  • Establishment, operation and maintenance of septic systems
  • Application, handling and storage of agricultural and non-agricultural source material
  • Livestock confinement and grazing
  • Handling and storage of fuel
  • Handling and storage of chemicals

Reporting Groundwater Interference

If you believe there is potential for contamination of groundwater sources in your area, please contact:

  • Ministry of the Environment
    Halton-Peel District Office

    Telephone: 905-319-3847 or 1-800-335-5906

For incidents during non-business hours, please contact:

  • Ministry of the Environment
    Spills Action Centre

    Telephone: 1-800-268-6060