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Source Water Protection

More cash to protect York's water

Richmond Hill Liberal
March 8, 2007 - Serena Willoughby, Staff Writer

Drinking water sources in the region are in line for better protection, now that York's two conservation authorities have received more than $147,000 to research threats to those sources.

Though the region already does a great deal in protection by pinpointing groundwater recharge areas, the $147,213 provincial grant allows the Lake Simcoe and Toronto Region authorities to figure out land uses that might contaminate the water, said Don Goodyear of the Lake Simcoe authority .

An abandoned gas station or farming might threaten groundwater, Mr. Goodyear said.

Much of the drinking water in the rural part of York Region comes from wells and they are more vulnerable to contamination, he said.

York is ahead of most regions in sourcewater protection, mainly because of the Oak Ridges Moraine conservation plan. It charges the region with protecting the recharge area of most of the GTA's groundwater.

Provincial law sets out a minimum requirement for sourcewater protection and York goes beyond that, said Debbie Korolnek, the region's manager of water and wastewater.

"We've spent about $3 million per year over the last five years on studies like this," Ms Korolnek said.

The cash infusion is a part of the Clean Water Act and implements 12 recommendations made by the Walkerton tainted water inquiry.

The conservation authorities will create a report which will lead to a sourcewater protection plan, which must then be approved by the province.

For more information about the Clean Water Act, check outwww.ene.gov.on.ca/envision/water/cwa.htm