May 2000 – Walkerton Tragedy

In May 2000, water contaminated by a deadly strain of E. coli bacteria made its way into the municipal water system of the community of Walkerton, Ontario. Tragically, seven people died and thousands of others became ill from drinking the contaminated water. As a result, the provincial government launched the Walkerton Inquiry. In 2002, Justice Dennis O'Connor revealed a number of recommendations with respect to protecting the province’s drinking water sources. Among his recommendations Justice O’Connor noted the importance of taking a “multi-barrier approach” to preventing contamination, starting with protection at the water’s source. Hence, the term Source Protection was born. Click here for more on the Walkerton Report.

October 2006 – Clean Water Act

In response to the Walkerton Inquiry recommendations, the Ontario Government introduced the Clean Water Act, a legislation focusing on the protection of rivers, lakes and groundwater that supply municipal drinking water systems.

For more on the Clean Water Act click on the image below:

Ontario Clean Water Act

2007 – Source Protection Committee

Under the Clean Water Act, 19 source protection regions were established across Ontario. Each region has a Source Protection Committee to oversee its program. The Trent Conservation Coalition Source Protection Committee is comprised of multi-stakeholders from local municipalities, industry, agriculture, commerce, First Nations, environmental proponents and the general public. The Committee is supported by the Conservation Authorities' Boards of Directors, which under the Clean Water Act, are referred to as "Source Protection Authorities."

For more on the Trent Conservation Coalition Source Protection Committee, click on the image below:

Trent Conservation Coalition Source Protection Comittee June 2015

2008 – Terms of Reference

The Source Protection Committee's first task was to develop its own Terms of Reference. The Terms of Reference outlines all the steps to be taken to develop a plan to protect drinking water sources. The five Terms of References (one for each Source Protection Area) were submitted for approval to the Minister of Environment and were approved early 2009.

To download the Terms of Reference for the Trent River and Ganaraska River SPAs, click here.

Hard Copies are available at your local Conservation Authority.

2010 – Assessment Reports

The Assessment Report is a technical document that identifies and evaluates threats to drinking water quality and quantity. It provides the scientific foundation for the source protection planning process. It includes information on vulnerable areas and potential threats. The Trent Assessment Report was approved by the Ministry of the Environment on October 1, 2014.

To download the approved Assessment Report for Trent and Ganaraska, visit our Reports and Legislation page.

2013-2014 Public Consultation: Revisions To The Proposed Source Protection Plan

After receiving the comments in 2013, the policies underwent a review by Staff, the Source Protection Committee, and Municipal Working Groups before the revisions were prepared for consultation. Municipalities and the public were invited to submit written comments regarding the revisions during the comment period, which ran from January 13 to February 14, 2014. The consultation documents are provided below.

Summary of Revisions January 2014 (394 KB)
Summary of Revisions August 2014 (161 KB)

2014-2015 – Source Protection Plan

The Source Protection Plan is the result of six years of research, data collection, and extensive consultation and collaboration with local government, potentially-affected stakeholders, and the general public. The Trent Conservation Coalition Source Protection Committee developed policies with the aid of municipalities and other stakeholders to ensure that identified activities cease to be, or never become, significant threats to the sources of our drinking water. Implementers of policies in the plan include municipalities, conservation authorities, provincial government or other agencies. Both the Trent and Ganaraska Source Protection Plans were approved by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) on October 23, 2014.

Click here to view the background document "What is the Source Protection Plan?" (250 KB)

To download the Trent and Ganaraska Source Protection Plan documents, click here.

2015 and beyond – Implementation Stage of Source Protection Plans

On January 1st, 2015 the Trent and Ganaraska Source Protection Plans came into effect. Implementation of plan polices is currently underway. These policies include a variety of approaches to education and outreach, the development of risk management plans, prohibitions of future instances of certain high-risk activities, land use planning, and more. These policies will be implemented by municipalities, planning approval authorities, provincial ministries, and others.

Click here to view the Local Press Release
Click here to view the Ministry Press Release

Click here to learn more about Potential Threats and Protecting Your Water
Click here to learn more about Risk Management

Keep in touch with us: