News Releases

Drinking Water Stewardship - Funding for Early Actions

Tuesday, Apr. 1, 2008

The Clean Water Act creates a drinking water support program to help farmers and small businesses take action to reduce threats to local drinking water sources. The Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Panel has provided advice on how the stewardship program should be administered and allocated.

There are two components to this program: an education and outreach portion, which will ensure public awareness of the Clean Water Act and the availability of funds for early actions.

Most of the funding will be used to support early action to protect municipal drinking water sources such as wellhead protection areas and intake protection zones. The objective of this component is to encourage implementation of early actions in wellhead protection zones and intake protection zones. Eligible activities include:

  • Decommissioning old abandoned wells and maintenance of existing wells.
  • Septic systems education, upgrades and inspections.
  • Small business pollution prevention reviews aimed at better management of materials storage, handling and disposal.
  • Buffer strips to protect from runoff

To find ways to best deliver this program and to encourage the Province to continue to its funding, the Essex Region Source Protection Committee (SPC) is surveying rural landowners and small business owners about their priorities, and the funding structure that would most entice participation. The SPC recently hosted seven open houses in each municipality with a Drinking Water intake and polled attendees. In an effort to receive feedback from as many eligible landowners as possible, the survey has been posted on the website at

"We encourage all rural landowners ? whether they are agricultural landowners or rural residential homeowners, as well as small business owners, to take the time to fill out this short survey," says Tom Fuerth, Chair of the SPC. "The more feedback we receive, the better we'll be able to deliver a program that works."