The Clean Water Act
The Ontario Government passed the Clean Water Act (CWA) to ensure that everyone in the province has the right to safe, clean drinking water. What happened in Walkerton in 2000 is not an isolated incident and the Legislation was developed to implement all of Justice O’Connor’s recommendations from the Walkerton Inquiry.
The Province of Ontario's Clean Water Act received Royal Assent on October 19, 2006, and passed into law July 3, 2006. It ensures that communities are able to protect their supply of Municipal residential drinking water through developing collaborative, locally driven, science-based protection plans.
Source Protection Authority (SPA)
The Lakehead Region Conservation Authority (LRCA) Board of Directors acts as the Source Protection Authority (SPA) for the Lakehead Source Protection Area as per Regulations in the Clean Water Act.
Source Protection Authorities have been established on a watershed basis across the province to implement the framework of the Legislation of the Clean Water Act to set up and support Source Protection Committees (SPC) in the planning process.
The Lakehead Source Protection Authority follows the same structure as the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority Board, which is made up of Members appointed by Municipal councils. However, the Source Protection Authority operates as a separate entity from the Conservation Authority.
The SPA is responsible for providing administrative and technical support to the Source Protection Committee when they work on the various tasks involved in developing a Source Protection Plan.
Clean Water Act
The Clean Water Act and its Regulations will provide communities with the tools and processes to protect their Municipal drinking water supplies through developing collaborative, locally driven, science-based protection plans.
The Lakehead Source Protection Committee (SPC) was formed by Regulation in the fall of 2007 to create and implement the plan for the two Municipal drinking water systems in the Lakehead Area:
- Bare Point Water Treatment Plant (City of Thunder Bay)
- Rosslyn Village Municipal Drinking Water System (Municipality of Oliver-Paipoonge)
The Source Protection Committee, through the planning process, will identify any potential risks to local water sources and take action to reduce or eliminate these risks. Municipalities, Conservation Authorities, property owners, farmers, industry, community groups and the public will all work together to meet common goals.
Municipal Drinking Water Sources
For the first time, communities directed by a Source Protection Authority and a Source Protection Committee will be required to look at their Municipal residential drinking water sources, identify potential threats of contamination, and create and implement a plan to protect both the quality and quantity of Municipal residential drinking water sources.
Our drinking water comes from lakes, rivers, streams or underground sources (aquifers). Drinking water sources can be easily contaminated and have a limited tolerance for stress. Long term problems can develop and are costly or even impossible to correct.
Walkerton Report & Source Protection
The Walkerton Inquiry determined that Drinking Water is best protected by taking an approach that uses multiple barriers to prevent contamination. Known as the 'multi barrier approach', it includes taking actions to prevent contamination of sources of our water, using adequate water treatment and distribution systems, water testing and training of water managers.
In order to make sure we have enough clean water for drinking and other uses, we need to protect sources by managing the influences on them. The best way to protect sources of water is on a watershed basis because water flows across traditional jurisdictional boundaries such as towns and cities.