The 2006 Clean Water Act requires the assessment of threats to sources of drinking water and the implementation of protection plans. Ontario established source protection areas based on natural watershed boundaries and created local multi-stakeholder source protection committees to facilitate compliance with this requirement.

Ontario's source protection areas in the Great Lakes basin (Conservation Ontario)

  • Ontario has invested over $275 million into the Source Water Protection program since 2004.
  • Source Water Protection Plans have been developed and approved by the province in all Source Protection Areas.
  • Over 450 drinking water systems are in Source Protection Areas, and over 95 percent of Ontario’s population lives in a Source Protection Area.
  • Plan policies require actions to reduce, eliminate, or manage identified risks. Examples of these actions include changing land uses, prohibiting or restricting activities that pose a threat to source water, and setting up septic system inspection programs through local health departments.