Ontario has approved plans to protect drinking water sources in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area developed by local municipal and community partners. The CTC Source Protection Plan and the Halton-Hamilton Source Protection Plan will take effect on December 31, 2015.
Their purpose is to help to protect the quality and quantity of water sources that supply civic drinking water systems. They will also set out actions to eliminate, manage, or reduce potential risks to these sources of drinking water.
The Credit Valley, Toronto and Region, and Central Lake Ontario (CTC) make up one source protection region, with 27 municipal drinking water systems, serving approximately 95 per cent of the area’s 6.7 million residents. The Halton-Hamilton source protection region has 10 municipal residential water systems: six draw from an aquifer, and four draw from Lake Ontario. These systems serve more than 90 percent of the area’s 900,000 residents.
The approval of the plan was a proud day for the Credit Valley, Toronto and Region and Central Lake Ontario source protection committee, said chair Susan Self. “We have worked collaboratively to develop policies to protect drinking water sources for the seven million people who depend on municipal water.” The chair of the Halton-Hamilton source protection committee, Robert Edmondson, was also pleased to hear of the approval of their committee’s plan. He commended the hard work of the committee members and staff, who were able to develop a science-based plan to protect current and future drinking water supplies.
Many municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area will have new responsibilities, including: creating management plans to reduce the risks associated with manure, biosolids, livestock grazing, and commercial fertilizers; providing information to the community on best practices for maintaining septic systems, as well as handling, storing and applying commercial fertilizers, pesticides, and road salt; developing or updating water conservation plans to support future growth and development; and improving partnerships to protect the Great Lakes.
Ontario has approved 18 of 22 source protection plans from many provincial areas, and expects to approve the remaining plans by the end of 2015. The 22 plans would cover areas where 95 percent of the province’s population lives.