Your Canadian Water Quality: Ontario's Report

Your Canadian Water Quality: Ontario's Report

The summer’s sweltering heat certainly makes us drink lots of water.

And are you wondering about the quality of Canadian water in your glass?

According to the following stats from the Chief Drinking Water Inspector’s Annual Report 2009 – 2010, your municipal residential drinking water systems are delivering safe, high quality tap water:

  • 99.88 per cent of drinking water tests reported by municipal residential drinking water systems met Ontario’s rigorous, health-based drinking water quality standards during the year.
    • These systems serve more than 80 per cent of Ontario’s population.
  • 99.51 per cent of the tests reported by systems serving designated facilities such as day cares, schools or health care centres met provincial standards.
  • 99.49 per cent of the tests reported by non-municipal year-round residential systems met provincial standards.
    • These private systems serve residential developments, and mobile home parks.
  • 59 per cent of municipal residential drinking water systems achieved inspection ratings of 100 per cent – a 26 per cent increase over five years.

Ontario has more than a quarter of a million lakes, rivers and streams, and abundant groundwater supplies.

Ministry of the Environment has established a world-class safety net to protect your drinking water from source-to-tap.

Furthermore, Ontario’s Clean Water Act‘s key actions in 2010-2011 include:

  • Landowners took action to protect their sources of municipal drinking water through the Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Program. This program has supported more than 2,000 projects to date, including:
    • Implementing runoff and erosion control measures on more than 60 properties
    • Inspecting and upgrading more than 1,000 septic systems
    • Closing or upgrading more than 480 wells.
  • The 19 local source protection committees (including representatives of First Nations, municipalities, farmers, industry and the general public) completed their science-based risk assessments of drinking water sources that identify risks to drinking water in their watersheds.
    • The committees are now preparing source protection plans that set out strategies to mitigate or eliminate the risk;
    • The source protection plans that highlight actions to address the most significant risks are due by August 2012.

Ontario is the first jurisdiction in North America to mandate a Quality Management System for municipal residential drinking water systems, which was implemented this year and entailed:

  • helping municipalities have the tools they need to deliver safe and clean drinking water;
  • to get a licence, municipal owners must develop and implement a rigorous Operational Plan that encompasses many key aspects of the management of a drinking water system including treatment of the water that enters the system and how the system is operated and maintained; owners must also undertake financial planning to ensure that it is sustainable.
  •  as of March 31, 2011, all facilities have been issued draft licences and 327 final licences have also been issued to 142 owners of municipal drinking water systems; and
  • all owners of municipal residential drinking water systems are expected to be licensed by fall 2011.

From 2007-2011, Ontario has been cleaning up and protecting the Great Lakes, as well as their connecting channels and the St Lawrence River, including:

  • work on Areas of Concern (locations around the Great Lakes where the environment has been harmed to the point that it affects the use and enjoyment of that area);
    • Lake Erie’s Wheatley Harbour was removed as an Area of Concern and
    • Lake Superior’s Jackfish Bay was changed from an Area of Concern to an Area in Recovery.
  • upgrading municipal wastewater infrastructure;
  • reducing pollution to the Great Lakes

The Lake Simcoe Protection Plan is the first of its kind in Ontario to address environmental protection of a watershed with the following features:

  • The watershed includes the area surrounding Lake Simcoe where water, such as streams or wetlands, drain into Lake Simcoe.
  • Released in June 2009, the plan sets out 119 actions.
  • The province addressed these 88 actions during the first year of implementing the plan.
  • As the second year nears conclusion, efforts continue with the aim of reducing phosphorus levels from 72 to 44 tonnes per year.

Ontario also works closely with Aboriginal communities, municipalities, federal and U.S. agencies and many local partners on Great Lakes protection as follows:

Water is big business since:

  • Water and wastewater technology is the largest sub-sector of Ontario’s environment industry generating $1.8 billion in sales.
  • The Conference Board of Canada estimates the global market in 2008 for water and wastewater was in excess of $400 billion, and growing steadily.
  • Ontario can implement water solutions to meet domestic needs and develop lucrative exports to global markets.

You Can Make a Difference

Your Canadian Water Quality: Ontario's Report

Your Canadian Water Quality: Ontario's Report

Five minutes of rinsing dishes under a faucet uses up to 45 litres of water.

Please do your part — protect our water sources.

  • Never put anything down the sink you wouldn’t want to drink
  • Bring your expired and unused medicine to your local pharmacy for disposal — don’t flush it away
  • Storm drains are for rain — not paint and oil as they feed directly into our drinking water sources

Only one percent of the water in the Great Lakes is replenished every year.

Please use water as a precious resource, for example:

  • Install low-flow toilets and showerheads.
  • Completely fill the dishwasher before running it.

The average Ontarian uses about 260 litres of water each day – twice as much as countries like Germany and the UK.

Please be water wise — conserve water,  for example:

  • fix leaky taps
  • wash only full loads in the clothes washer
  • turn off the tap when brushing your teeth

Get conservation wise outdoors.

  • Get a rain barrel and save rainwater for your garden
  • Install a timer on your sprinkler and don’t “water the driveway”
  • Add mulch to slow down water evaporation from the soil

Please rethink your water use.

For more info, please click here.

Ontario, Canada: Newsroom

News Release

Ontario Leading North America – Clean, Safe, Reliable Drinking Water

July 29, 2011

McGuinty Government Helps Businesses Develop Water Innovation, Creates Jobs

Ontario continues to be a North American leader in providing clean, safe and reliable drinking water to Ontarians.

The Minister’s Annual Report on Drinking Water 2011 highlights the government’s key achievements and successes in protecting drinking water.

The province is making progress in cleaning up its Great Lakes. Lake Erie’s Wheatley Harbour was removed as an Area of Concern and Lake Superior’s Jackfish Bay was changed from an Area of Concern to an Area in Recovery.

The health of Lake Simcoe is improving. The goal of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan’s phosphorus reduction strategy is to reduce phosphorus from 72 to 44 tonnes per year.

The new Water Opportunities and Water Conservation Act is helping Ontario develop innovative water technologies which create jobs and provide clean safe drinking water to the world.

99.88 per cent of water quality tests from municipal residential drinking water systems met Ontario’s rigorous standards as highlighted in the Chief Drinking Water Inspector’s Annual Report 2009 – 2010.

Ensuring Ontarians have access to clean, protected drinking water is part of the government’s plan to make the province a North American leader in clean water.

QUOTES

“Ontario continues to take a leadership role in drinking water protection. We are committed to making sure that Ontario’s drinking water is among the best protected in the world.”

 – John Wilkinson
Minister of the Environment

“We’re protecting our sources of drinking water to ensure that families in Huron Bruce can continue to rely on our safe, clean drinking water supply and farmers can continue to provide us with the good things that grow in Ontario.”

 – Carol Mitchell
MPP for Huron Bruce

QUICK FACTS

  • In 2011, Ontario provided $7 million for landowners to take action to protect their drinking water sources through the Ontario Drinking Water Stewardship Program.
  • The Chief Drinking Water Inspector’s Annual Report 2009-2010 shows 99.88 per cent of drinking water tests reported by municipal residential drinking water systems met Ontario’s rigorous, health-based drinking water quality standards.

CONTACTS

  • Contact information for the general public
    416-325-4000
    1-800-565-4923
  • Jonathan Rose
    Minister’s Office
    416-314-6739
    Jonathan.Rose@ontario.ca

Ministry of the Environment
ontario.ca/environment

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