May 24, 2004

Town of Amherst one of only five in Canada to be featured in best practices report

AMHERST, NS-Amherst, Nova Scotia is one of only five communities in Canada to be featured in a forthcoming report by Environment Canada on good source protection of drinking water. Environment Canada chose the five communities on the basis of criteria such as population size, water source, degree of isolation, vulnerability to contaminants, water scarcity, range of social economic levels and nature of governance. Amherst is being included in the report because of its source-to-tap water protection plan, part of the town's multi-barrier approach to drinking water protection. In conjunction with the municipality of the County of Cumberland where the town's well field is located, Amherst has worked out an inter-municipality planning strategy to protect the town's water source. A municipal land-use bylaw designates three zones within a protected area: 1) a 1,500-acre internal zone, in which only water production is permitted; 2) a 2,600-acre intermediate zone, in which residential dwellings on lots larger than four hectares are allowed; and 3) a 5,200-acre outside zone, in which residential dwellings on 1.2-hectare lots are located, along with two existing farms and tourist homes. Currently only about half of Nova Scotia's municipal water supply systems have some form of source water protection in place. That number is increasing, however, as municipalities work with Nova Scotia Environment and Labour to improve drinking water supplies in the province.
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