New road signs identifying drinking water protection zones have been installed across Ontario, and can be seen locally on municipal roads in the Otonabee-Peterborough Source Protection Area (O-P SPA). The distinctive blue on white metal signs which read, ‘Drinking Water Protection Zone’ mark locations where municipal drinking water sources are the most vulnerable to contamination.
“An important part of protecting municipal drinking water supplies is knowing where the most vulnerable areas are around our municipal drinking water sources. Activities in these sensitive areas matter, and the new road signs will help to create public awareness,” says Dan Marinigh, Chief Administrative Officer for Otonabee Conservation.
Vulnerable areas around groundwater sources (called Wellhead Protection Areas) and surface water sources such as rivers and lakes (called Intake Protection Zones) have been identified throughout the O-P SPA. The O-P SPA includes the watershed of Otonabee Conservation, and portions of four additional municipalities. Within the O-P SPA there are 12 municipalities and 12 municipal drinking water systems that provide drinking water to over 129,000 residents. The O-P SPA is one of five source protection areas in the Trent Conservation Coalition Source Protection Region, established by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change as part of the Drinking Water Source Protection Program.
“If we want clean water tomorrow, we need to protect our sources of water today. Knowing the location of a drinking water source furthers our understanding about the importance of protecting that source. It is the first step of a multi-barrier approach to ensuring a safe, sustainable water supply, from source to tap,” explains Marinigh.
The signage project is part of the Drinking Water Source Protection Program, directed and funded by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change under the Clean Water Act, 2006. Working cooperatively with local municipalities, Otonabee Conservation provides local technical, communications and administrative support for the planning, development and implementation of policies contained in the Trent Source Protection Plan.