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As part of its strategy to protect Ontario’s drinking water from source to tap, the government of Ontario released draft legislation on the development and approval of watershed-based source protection plans. Watershed-based source protection was a key recommendation of the Walkerton Inquiry.
The proposed legislative provisions are the first part of the government’s approach to drinking water source protection. The provisions have been drafted based on the responses received on the White Paper that the government released in February 2004 and are in keeping with recommendations in the O’Connor Report.
Implementation is the next step in developing the drinking water source protection legislation. The government has released the recommendations of two expert advisory committees on watershed-based source protection for public comment.
The Clean Water Act, 2005 was introduced for First Reading on December 5, 2005. and at Second Reading on April 13, 2006. If passed, it will support at least 22 of Justice O’Connor’s recommendations following the Walkerton Inquiry. Its broad scope encompasses Great Lakes and inland communities, groundwater and surface water resources, rivers and lakes, and current and future conditions and threats to drinking water sources. Environmental groups urge the Ontario government to pass and implement this important legislation as soon as possible.
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