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Understand how Conservation Authority can impact your property
Understand how Conservation Authority can impact your property
Conservation Ontario is a nonprofit organization that represents the network of 36 Conservation Authorities, natural resource management agencies that are organized and operate on the basis of local watersheds across Ontario. Approximately 90 per cent of Ontario residents live in watersheds managed by Conservation Authorities.
Protect Ontarians and their property from flooding and erosion hazards
Protect natural areas and open space (largest landowner next to the Province)
Restore and protect water and land resources and habitats
Provide recreational and educational opportunities to local residents, encouraging them to get outdoors to enjoy and learn about nature
Conservation Authorities deliver programs and services totalling approximately $340 million annually through more than 3,600 full time and seasonal, contract, and part-time staff.
Conservation Authorities partner with municipal, provincial and federal governments, as well as landowners and many other groups and agencies, to deliver community-based natural resource programs
Conservation Authorities Rely on Science-based Integrated Watershed Management
An integrated watershed management approach manages human activities and natural resources, together, on a watershed basis taking into consideration environmental, economic and human needs and interests.
Flood Management – Key Responsibility of Conservation Authorities
Conservation Authorities manage $2.7 billion dollars of flood control and prevention infrastructure including 900 dams, dykes, channels and erosion control structures
Flood management programs delivered by Conservation Authorities prevent an average of well over $100 million a year in flood damages and loss of life
Programs and services to prevent and control flooding offered by Conservation Authorities include:
o monitor conditions year round
o model and forecast flood conditions
o issuing flood warnings
o regulate development in flood prone areas
o provide support and advice to municipalities to minimize the impacts of flooding
o purchase vulnerable lands
o protect significant ecosystems such as wetlands and forests that help to control flooding
o educate the public about flooding hazards
Source Water Protection
In partnership with the Province, Conservation Authorities support Source Protection Committees (SPC) in 19 regions
Work with Ontarians to deliver rural and urban stewardship programs
Each year, Conservation Authorities planted almost 3 million trees with 3,000 landowners
Provide landowners with financial and technical assistance to carry out water quality improvements including projects such as erosion control, clean water diversion, agricultural best management practices, well decommissioning and septic system improvements
Provide landowners with financial and technical assistance to carry out rehabilitation/restoration projects with wetlands, habitats, shorelines and stream & fish habitat. Many projects are targeted to at invasive species and species at risk
Partner with the Province to monitor health of water and land resources
Conservation Authorities operate 374 monitoring sites within the provincial groundwater quality monitoring network and 407 sites in the provincial surface water quality monitoring network. Conservation Authorities also have 584 surface water quality monitoring sites and 35 groundwater monitoring sites in addition to the provincial partnerships.
Step Into Nature – Helping Canadians to stay healthy
Over 500 Conservation Areas are managed and owned by Conservation Authorities. Approximately 250 of these are open to the public
Over 6.9 million people visited Conservation Areas in 2012 either as day visitors or campers
8,400 campsites and almost 2,500 km of trails are located within Conservation Areas
Conservation Authorities deliver many outdoor educational programs and events in partnership with schools, friends’ groups and other agencies
Environmental Education -
Conservation Authority outdoor education programs are aligned with Ontario’s curriculum Programs and in 2012, delivered programs approximately 400,000 Ontario students at more than 3,000 schools.
For more information:
Kim Gavine, General Manager
905-895-0716 Ext. 231
Jane Lewington, Marketing & Communications Specialist
905-8950716 Ext. 222 May 2017
Drinking water source protection in Ontario
Drinking water source protection in Ontario
Drinking water source protection
Water is critical to all aspects of our lives and it is important that we ensure there is a safe and reliable source of water for all
our uses - now and in the future. The Clean Water Act, 2006 is part of the Ontario government’s commitment to ensuring the
sustainability of clean, safe drinking water for all Ontarians. The intent of the Ontario Clean Water Act is to protect municipal
drinking water sources through assessments based on sound science and develop locally driven Source Protection Plans. As a
result of the Clean Water Act, 19 multi-stakeholder Source Protection Committees were established across Ontario to develop
local Source Protection Plans.
What does the Clean Water Act say about threats to drinking water safety?
The Clean Water Act regulations list 21 prescribed threat activities which can if not properly managed or removed, pose risks
to drinking water sources. The list is available here: http://www.ontario.ca/environment-and-energy/source-protection.
Other types of threat activities may also be identified, as needed. The local Source Protection Plans include (a) existing and
future threat activities in the local watersheds, and (b) policies that manage or eliminate the risks posed by these threats.
Municipalities, Conservation Authorities, property owners, farmers, industrial and commercial businesses, community groups,
institutions and the public are working together to ensure local sources of municipal drinking water are protected from these
threats, now and in the future.
Why should real estate agents be aware of drinking water source protection?
As Source Protection Plans continue to come into effect across the province, many potential buyers and sellers of residential,
agricultural, industrial, commercial or institutional properties will become aware that certain properties, located within
protection zones that are closest to municipal groundwater wells and surface water intakes, may be subject to policies that
will manage or prohibit certain activities. You may notice an increase in questions about whether or not a property is located
in one of these protection zones and how this might impact the activities that can be undertaken there. It is equally important
that every real estate agent be aware of these protection zones, local Source Protection Plans and properties that could be
impacted, whether you are acting on behalf of the buyer or seller.
What does it mean if a ‘threat’ has been identified on a property I’m selling?
It means that the threat activity could pose a risk to the source of municipal drinking water. The property owner would have
been notified of this during the development of the local Source Protection Plan. The local Source Protection Plan policies
may require the activity to be managed on that property, or in a few situations, prohibited. It is also important to let a potential
buyer know that certain activities which are not currently occurring on the property, could still be subject to local Source
Protection Plan policies, if the activities occur in the future on that property.
The policies could be implemented by various organizations and agencies such as municipalities, conservation authorities and
public health units. Some activities may require a Risk Management Plan (RMPs), where a Risk Management Official will be
involved in establishing an RMP to address the threat activity. The implementor of the policies will consider existing risk
reduction measures on the property. It is prudent to provide the necessary information to potential buyers in order for them
to understand the implications of buying a property (a) with an identified threat activity, or (b) to which policies could apply if
certain activities are planned to be carried out in the future.
What are some activities that could be a threat to the source of local drinking water if undertaken on a
There are a variety of activities that pose a potential threat to the quality or quantity of drinking water if undertaken by
property owners/renters, especially when a property is located close to a well or intake. Below are some examples of
activities that could be considered potential threats on residential, agricultural, industrial, commercial or institutional
Operation of a septic system
Handling and storage of home heating oil
Application of large amounts of road salt to paved
surfaces (such as driveways and walkways)
Use or storage of fertilizers (chemical, biosolids,
Use or storage of pesticides
Fields where livestock graze and barnyards where
livestock are housed
Operation of a fish farm
Storage or use of dry cleaning chemicals
Operation of a landfill
Operation of a gas or service station
Storage of paints, varnishes, or glues at
warehouses, factories, and retail outlets
Use of degreasing or cleaning agents at mechanic
Storage of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl) and
other hazardous waste
I sell properties in more than one watershed. Will the Source Protection Plans for all source protection areas
or regions be the same?
No, but they will likely be similar. Since the needs in one source protection area or region may differ from the next, the
source protection program was designed to ensure that the identification of risks to drinking water is based on sound
science, but established a locally driven process to determine how to best address these risks. When developing policies,
source protection committees took into account the need for local flexibility in order to capture existing characteristics
and approaches in each watershed. Conservation Ontario has facilitated and encouraged collaboration on policy
development among the 19 source protection areas or regions. Source Protection Committees took advantage of
opportunities for consistency (where appropriate) by sharing ideas on policy development through exchange of
information, regular teleconferences, and in-person meetings.
What can I do to help inform potential buyers about the Drinking Water Source Protection program and how
does it apply to them?
Your local Conservation Authority has many resources such as fact sheets, brochures, and other information on their
website that you could use to better inform potential property buyers about the Drinking Water Source Protection
program, whether or not a property is located in a protection zone, and how specific activities may be regulated on a
certain property. They could also schedule an appointment to speak with a staff person at the Conservation Authority
regarding the property and any concerns, they may have about regulated activities.
Where can I find more information?
Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Your local Conservation Authority or Source Protection Region/Area