The Province of Ontario announced on January 29 its approval of the South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe Source Protection Plan, which was developed by local and municipal partners on the South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe source protection committee. The plan will take effect on July 1 of this year.

“This is a momentous occasion for us,” said committee chair Lynn Dollin. “This drinking water source protection plan is an example of locally developed, inclusive, community-based decision-making at its best. We are really pleased with the process that we took and with the final product.”

Under the plan, regional residents will be provided with information on best practices for maintaining septic systems, livestock grazing and pasturing areas, handling and storage of salt and fuel, and applying and storing pesticides, manures, and other fertilizers.

The plan also includes the installation of road signs identifying drinking water protection zones, and the creation of risk-management plans for substances like road salt and fertilizer that contribute chloride, sodium, or nitrate to source water.

“Few things are as important to our health as having safe water to drink,” said Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray. “Ontario’s multi-barrier approach to protect drinking water has made our tap water among the best protected in the world. Protecting the sources of drinking water—our lakes, rivers, and groundwater—is the foundation of our safety net.”

More than 100 municipal drinking water systems servicing more than a million people are present in the South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe region.

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