Best Practices for Non-Municipal Drinking Water Systems

What are the Best Practices for Source Water Protection?

Do you drink water from a private well or intake? Then this section is for you. While Ontario’s Drinking Water Source Protection Program is generally focused on protecting municipal water sources, over 50% of the population within the Trent Conservation Coalition Source Protection Region is on private wells or drawing water from lakes, including most cottagers. A recent initiative launched in 2022 in conjuction with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks is intended to extend the Best Practices learned from the Source Protection Program and regional Source Protection Plans, to owners of private systems, to increase local knowledge about the threats to their water sources, and what steps they can all take to protect them.

For a more indepth and engaging look at the Best Practices, we'd recommend the following storyboard walk-through of the guidance here, with helpful figures, images and quizes to best ensure your understanding: CLICK HERE.

  • It contains information that can help cottagers, homeowners, small villages and rural schools that don’t have the luxury of safe municipal water.

In conjunction with this effort launched by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Trent Conservation Coalition Source Protection aims to recognize the vulnerabilities of private wells, surface water intakes, and non-municipal drinking water systems, and seek to educate, provide resources and raise awareness of the threats to those drinking water sources and ways to mitigate the threats.

Municipal vs Private Systems


  • The success of the Municipal Drinking Water Source Protection Program is built on the multi-barrier approach. This diagram illustrates that approach to protecting municipal drinking water systems. As you can see, municipal systems have more resources compared to private system owners. When you own a non-municipal drinking water system, it is important to operate it responsibly and test it regularly. It's up to you to fill in those gaps and create your own multi-barrier approach.

The Ontario well records map is also a useful resource for seeing where wells are located near you:

Water Testing


Drinking Water Wise Webinar Series 

Rural Drinking Water Human Health

The Trent Conservation Coalition, Cataraqui, Rideau Valley, and Quinte Conservation have partnered to provide the Drinking Water Wise Webinar series. This is a FREE five-part Microsoft Teams webinar series to help educate landowners and realtors on the importance of drinking water protection through monitoring and maintaining household systems. Each webinar will have a presentation about the Best Practices for Source Water Protection and a presentation from an expert in the field.  All webinars will be recorded and available to view on Youtube afterwards. The webinar topics and schedule are as follows:

  • Harmful Algal Blooms and Drinking Water  - Link to Recording
  • Well Care 101  - Link to Recording
  • Septic Systems 101 - Link to Recording 
  • Realty and Rural Source Water - Link to Recording
  • Rural Source Water and Human Health -  April 18th, 2024 - 6PM. - Link To Register
    • Join us and Anna Majury, Clinical Microbiologist at Public Health Ontario, to learn about waterborne pathogens, how to avoid contaminated drinking water and the impacts of consuming contaminated water.

Stay tuned for more webinar announcements into 2024. You can visit our registration page for more information about each Drinking Water Wise Webinar, or contact any of the staff involved: