Tools and Approaches for Source Water Protection in Canada Governance for Source ...


Title: Tools and Approaches for Source Water Protection in Canada Governance for Source Water Protection in Canada, Report No. 1

Author(s): Simms, G., Lightman, D. and de Loë, R.

Publication Date: 2010

Type of Document : Background Papers

Category: Source Water Protection

Geographic area:

  • Canada




Source water protection (SWP) is a significant component of effective water management. Sources of drinking water, including lakes, rivers and aquifers, can be protected using a suite of management approaches designed to ensure acceptable water quality and quantity conditions for

a diverse range of uses.

Source water protection is most closely linked to drinking water safety. While this is appropriate, a broader perspective also exists. For example, agriculture requires water of a particular quality for purposes such as watering livestock and irrigating certain crops. Consistent quantities of water of a certain quality also are critical to many other industrial and commercial activities. At the same time, protection of sources of water for human uses can contribute to the maintenance of watershed conditions that support aquatic and other wildlife.

Due to increased pressure on water resources and adverse events that have been witnessed in Canada, including the proliferation of drinking water advisories, the contamination of water supplies and the risks associated with climate change, awareness of the need for SWP strategies is growing. Achieving effective source protection is a complex task that requires careful consideration of many different water uses. One of the greatest challenges to successful SWP is its integration with other water and land use management strategies. Viewing SWP

as a component of integrated watershed management is one way of addressing this challenge.

This report highlights the complexity that surrounds SWP activities. It demonstrates that decisions about SWP must involve careful consideration of the many pre-existing land and water management strategies that are likely to influence and affect SWP efforts. The report is not intended to be a comprehensive or exhaustive review of SWP in Canada. Instead, examples selected from all Canadian provinces and territories showcase approaches and demonstrate the wide range of tools being used in different jurisdictions.

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