A plan to protect the sources of water for municipal drinking water systems in the Grand River watershed is now available for public comment.
The Proposed Source Protection Plan for the Grand River watershed outlines the policies and programs needed to protect municipal water systems from contamination. It is available online at www.sourcewater.ca and at the head office of the Grand River Conservation Authority, 400 Clyde Rd., Cambridge.
The deadline for comments is Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. Information on how to submit comments is available on the website or at the GRCA office.
This is the second round of public consultation on the plan. The first round took place from August through October. Some changes have been made in the plan to reflect the comments received.
Comments received during the current consultation will be attached to the plan when it is submitted to the Ministry of Environment for approval in January.
The publication of the plan is the result of more than five years of work done under the Clean Water Act. The Act was passed in 2006 in response to the Walkerton tainted water tragedy.
The Source Protection Plan outlines policies and programs to protect the sources of municipal drinking water serving more than 650,000 people in the Grand River watershed. There are 45 municipal water systems and one First Nation system. Those systems get their water from about 190 wells, four river intakes and one Lake Erie intake.
The Source Protection Plan:
· identifies vulnerable areas where drinking water sources face a risk of contamination,
· identifies significant threats to drinking water sources, and
· outlines policies and programs to reduce the risk posed by significant threats, and to prevent new ones from developing.
The plan uses a variety of “tools” to protect water sources such as municipal zoning bylaws, negotiated risk management plans, incentive programs and educational programs.
The work of developing the Source Protection Plan was led by the Lake Erie Region Source Protection Committee. It is a multi-stakeholder committee with representatives from throughout the Lake Erie Source Protection Region which includes the Grand River, Kettle Creek, Catfish Creek and Long Point Region watersheds.
The committee worked closely with municipal officials to develop the plans and policies that are included in the plan.
Owners of land where significant threats to water sources have been identified will also be notified of their opportunity to comment on the plan.