Ontario has released the Minister’s Annual Report on Drinking Water from the office of Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).

The report details the work done in late 2015 through 2016 to ensure the quality and safety of Ontario’s drinking water. The ministry highlighted certain elements of the report for attention, including:

  • Ontario’s drinking water systems’ performance
  • working to protect the Great Lakes
  • improving drinking water for First Nations
  • the second progress report on implementing the Water Opportunities Act

In the Minister’s message, The Honourable Glen Murray, calls attention to the fact that 99.8 per cent of 527,000 plus test results on residential systems met Ontario’s drinking water quality standards.

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Minister Murray further notes, “We are also working collaboratively with Indigenous communities and the federal government to improve drinking water for First Nation communities by providing technical support and helping to train drinking water system operators.” Other issues of importance in the minister’s note are phosphorous reductions and algal blooms and climate change impacts.

Climate change received a close attention throughout. The report called out various issues around the changing climate, but called out the changes to lake ice cover, and said, “Knowing what these changes are and which types of lakes are most at risk will help inform future climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.” Indeed, underscoring the effects of climate change to the province, the report concluded by suggesting that the event is “perhaps the most defining issue of our time.”

Other areas of importance included First Nations water issues and source protection measures. On First Nations, Ontario has worked to offer in-kind technical assistance to the Nations. “This includes on-site assessment of current water systems, technical reviews of design and construction projects, reviewing operations and maintenance plans, operator training and certification, source protection, and watershed planning.”

Public awareness in drinking water source protection was also urgent. One method used to achieve that goal was the development in February, 2016, of the Source Water Protection Map.

Other sections covered in the Minister’s report included Great Lakes issues, the Water Opportunities Act, Ontario’s drinking water (including a summary of the Chief Drinking Water Inspector’s report), and emerging issues in water quality and protection.

Read the full report here and Water Canada’s earlier news story on the Chief Drinking Water Inspector’s annual report.

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