Water is essential to every aspect of our lives, including drinking, swimming, fishing and agriculture, so it is incredibly important for us to protect our water sources to ensure that there is safe, clean water for us to use now and in the future. As water flows through its watershed, it is influenced by both natural and human activities within the area where it travels. To ensure that we have enough clean water for drinking and other uses, we need to protect our water sources by managing the influences on them.
Source water protection refers to efforts to protect our water resources and water source areas from contamination and overuse. For instance, most of us get our drinking water from surface water sources, like lakes, rivers streams, as well as groundwater sources, which can be easily contaminated or impacted by a number of different influences.
Protecting our water sources is a provincial government initiative but since water flows within watershed areas, and the flow is not restricted by municipal boundaries, the best way to manage influences on source water is on a watershed basis. Conservation authorities are the only agencies that operate on a watershed basis, so it is our responsibility to manage the protection of source water. Conservation authorities coordinate the development of source water protection plans and provide technical expertise and advice. Source water protection plans are management strategies designed to minimize impacts from human and natural influences on the quality and quantity of water. Conservation Halton works in partnership with Hamilton Conservation Authority to develop and coordinate the source water protection plan for their watershed area, which includes most of Halton, Hamilton, and parts of Peel and Wellington County.
Since water is essential to everyone, and everyone has a role to play in protecting it, it is important to consult and involve a wide variety of stakeholders in the development of these source water protection plans—municipal partners, community members, Indigenous communities, business owners, community groups and public health to name a few.
If you would like to learn more about source water protection in Halton or Hamilton, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org