CAMBRIDGE – Updates to the plan that protects the sources of municipal drinking water in the Grand River watershed were approved by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks on Feb. 2.
The recently approved updates were proposed in 2019, publicly consulted on from Jan. 13 to Feb. 26, 2020 and submitted to the ministry for review and approval on June 1, 2020. These amendments to the Grand River Source Protection Plan affect Wellington County (townships of Centre Wellington, Mapleton, Wellington North, Guelph/Eramosa and the Town of Erin) and the County of Brant.
“It is important to keep source protection plans up-to-date to reflect changes in infrastructure and where new information becomes available, so that communities can rest assured that their sources of drinking water are protected,” says source protection program manager Martin Keller.
“We are already working on further plan updates. These will be brought forward once studies are completed,” said Keller.
Information about plan updates currently in process and being consulted on can be found at www.sourcewater.ca/GR-SPP-Update.
The updated Grand River Source Protection Plan took effect on Feb. 3. The plan and its associated documents are available online at www.sourcewater.ca. The Grand River Source Protection Plan was first approved in November 2015 and came into effect July 1, 2016.
The source protection planning process began in 2006 following the Walkerton Inquiry, when the province passed the Clean Water Act to protect the sources of municipal drinking water.
The process to update the plan was guided by the Lake Erie Region Source Protection Committee, which is made up of representatives from municipalities, business, industry, farmers, landowners and other stakeholders. The committee is also responsible for updating plans for the Catfish Creek, Kettle Creek and Long Point Region watersheds.
Policies in the Source Protection Plans include a variety of approaches to manage and prevent risks to municipal drinking water. These approaches include education and outreach, the development of risk management plans, land use planning and monitoring. The policies are designed to ensure sufficient supplies and keep contaminants out of rivers, lakes and groundwater aquifers that are sources of municipal drinking water.
The source protection planning process is directed and funded by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks in conjunction with municipalities. Local conservation authorities provide additional technical, communications and administrative support for the source protection planning process.