August 6, 2007

Conservation authorities prepare to implement Ontario's Clean Water Act

With Ontario's Clean Water Act and five attached regulations now in effect, Conservation Ontario and its 36 member conservation authorities throughout the province are preparing to form local source protection committees (SPCs) as mandated by the legislation.

Starting this summer and extending into the fall, 19 SPCs will be established, with members drawn from municipalities, landowners, business and industry, First Nations, environmental and other relevant interest groups.

The new Act requires communities to develop, for the first time, plans to protect the quality and quantity of their municipal drinking water sources. They will have to examine existing and potential threats to their water and develop and implement actions to reduce or eliminate these threats. All plans and actions must be developed with public participation and must be based on sound science. Communities are authorized to take necessary action to prevent any threat to their water from becoming significant.

In addition to the regulation detailing the formation of the SPCs, regulations under the Act define the boundaries of source protection areas and regions for which source protection plans are to be developed, set out terms of reference the SPCs must create, as well as time limits, and address miscellaneous issues.

More information on the Clean Water Act and regulations is available on the Ministry of Environment Web site, www.ontario.ca/cleanwater.

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