Source Water Protection

The Source Protection Plan for the South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe Source Protection Region came into effect on July 1, 2015. The Plan introduces a variety of policies to protect our municipal drinking water sources and meets the requirements of the Ontario Clean Water Act.  

What is Source Water Protection?

Source water protection is simply protecting surface water sources such as lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater sources from contamination or overuse. Water is critical to all aspects of our lives. Protecting our sources of water is important to ensure there is enough safe water for all of our uses – now and in the future.

Why are we implementing Source Water Protection?

In May 2000, Walkerton’s drinking water system became contaminated with deadly bacteria, primarily Escherichia coli O157:H7.1, commonly known as E.coli. As a result of this tragedy the Province passed The Clean Water Act. The Act aims to protect municipal drinking water in the province with a multi-barrier approach, starting with Source Water Protection.

What is a Source Protection Plan?

A Source Protection Plan is a science-based plan to protect our municipal drinking water supply from threats of contamination or overuse. The Source Protection Plan for our region, the South Georgian Bay Lake Simcoe Source Protection Region, received approval from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change in early 2015 and came into effect on July 1, 2015.

The Source Protection Plan contains a number of policies designed to protect municipal sources of drinking water from the 21 threats identified in the Clean Water Act.

How will Source Water Protection affect me?

Source protection planning will affect everyone differently:

  • It will ensure municipal sources of drinking water are protected and communities will have a healthy source of water now and in the future
  • Depending on where you live, the activities and conditions on your land, you may be affected to a greater degree than other people
  • If you live within a vulnerable area or a Wellhead Protection Area and there are activities or conditions on your property that pose a significant threat to drinking water, you may have to lessen the threat or eliminate it altogether.

What is a vulnerable area?

Vulnerable areas are identified based on their natural characteristics, including the type of soil and rock in those areas and how quickly contaminants can travel down to the ground water. 

What is a Wellhead Protection Area?

A wellhead protection area is the vulnerable area around the top of a well where contamination could occur. Vulnerable areas may be more susceptible to contamination, so you might need to take specific action to ensure the safety of local drinking water.

How do I know if I live in a wellhead protection area?

Use the Simcoe County Mapping System to locate your property and determine if it is located in a Wellhead Protection Area. You may also call 705-739-4220 Ext. 5153. 

What are drinking water threats?

There are 21 different types of threats to drinking water under the Clean Water Act. They include:

  • Waste Disposal Sites
  • Sewage Systems (including septic)
  • Agricultural and non-agricultural source material applied to land, stored, handled or managed
  • Commercial fertilizer applied, handled or stored
  • Pesticides applied to land, handled or stored
  • Road salt applied, handled or stored
  • Snow stored
  • Fuel handled or stored
  • Activities taking water from an aquifer (groundwater) or surface water body (lake or river)
  • Activities reducing recharge of an aquifer’s underground water sourced (e.g. pavement)
  • Livestock grazing, pasturing, outdoor confinement areas and farm-animal yards
  • Organic solvents handled or stored
  • The handling and storage or a dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) (e.g. oil and solvents)
  • Chemicals used in de-icing of an aircraft

Significant threats for Springwater include commercial fertilizer, fuel storage, pesticide application, agricultural source material, chemical threats and septic systems.


How is the Township handling these threats?

The Township will be conducting inspections on existing properties, homes and businesses within Wellhead Protection Areas. Some of these property owners may be required to complete a Risk Management Plan to reduce or eliminate potential threats to source water. The Township has contracted the services of the City of Barrie Risk Management Official and Risk Management Inspector to work with property owners in vulnerable areas. – Barrie to protect Springwater’s water

The process for new building application and planning permits will include a review and assessment of any properties located within a Wellhead Protection Area. Certain activities may be prohibited or limited within these areas.

The Township is undertaking a Septic Re-Inspection Program to ensure the safety of our lakes and drinking water. Learn more about the Septic Re-Inspection Program here.

Who should I contact if I have more questions?

For more information on Source Water Protection please contact Katie Thompson, Risk Management Official at 705-739-4220 Ext. 4796 or by filling out a contact form.

Quick Links

s.59 Screening Form - for planning and building applications in vulnerable areas
2016 Annual Source Water Protection Report