Welcome to Drinking Water Source Protection

Water is critical to all aspects of our lives. It is important that there is a safe and reliable source of water for now and for the future. There is a finite supply - there is no new water on Earth; it is recycled constantly through the water cycle. If we let our water become contaminated or take it away faster than it can be replenished through the water cycle, we will face shortages.

In the Essex Region, our municipal drinking water comes from lakes and rivers - Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie and the Detroit River. These sources, which are accessed through municipal drinking water intakes, are all connected in a watershed through the water cycle. Drinking water sources can be easily contaminated.

In order to make sure we have enough clean water for drinking and other uses, we need to protect sources by managing our influences on them. The best way to protect sources of water is on a watershed basis, taking an ecosystem approach when considering management decisions.

Municipal drinking water is best protected by a "multibarrier approach", it includes taking actions to prevent contamination of our water source, using adequate water treatment and distribution systems, water testing and training of water managers.

Drinking Water Source Protection has been identified as the first line of defense in protecting Ontario's drinking water. The Clean Water Act, 2006 has been passed into law and identifies that municipalities, conservation authorities, community groups and residents will work together towards the common goal of safe water by developing watershed based Source Protection Plans.

Everyone should be able to trust that the water they drink is safe. Protecting the source is the first step in ensuring safe drinking water. Preventing contamination is better than trying to clean it up after the fact. That's why the Ontario government has passed the Clean Water Act. For the first time, communities will be required to look at their drinking water sources, identify potential sources of contamination, and create and carry out a plan to protect both the quality and quantity of municipal drinking sources.

What does the Clean Water Act mean for our community? Source protection planning will build on the work municipalities are already doing to protect drinking water. The Source Protection Committee will represent the broad interests across our local watershed to create a locally developed and delivered source protection plan. Our community will use a science-based approach to protecting our water supplies — one that works for us.