- Are we running out of fresh water in Canada?
We do not have an infinite supply of water on our planet.
Most of the water we use is recycled through the natural water cycle. It falls to earth as precipitation, is absorbed by plants and soil and then evaporates back into the atmosphere where the cycle begins again. Some of the water we use is thousands of years old.
Our supply of groundwater can be depleted if water is taken out of the ground more quickly than it can be naturally recharged. Groundwater feeds surface water and vice-versa. Groundwater depletion can also reduce the amount of water in streams and lakes.
Human activities can have some devastating impacts on water quantity. Humans often increase storage capacity by constructing reservoirs and decrease it by draining wetlands. Humans often increase runoff quantities by paving areas and channelizing stream flow.
- Where does my drinking water come from?
Our drinking water comes from two major sources: surface water and groundwater. Surface water includes lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. Groundwater comes from underground aquifers. Groundwater and surface water are interconnected, flowing from one to the other.
In Peel, residents obtain surface water from the South Peel Drinking Water System which supplies water to a population of over 1.4 million people in the Cities of Brampton and Mississauga and some parts of the Town of Caledon. Raw water from Lake Ontario is pumped into two surface water treatment plans, Lakeview Water Treatment Plant and Lorne Park Water Treatment Plant, from intake pipes extending up to two kilometres off shore.
In rural parts of Caledon, drinking water is provided to homeowners through a well-based system where the source of the water is groundwater, rather than surface water from Lake Ontario.
Groundwater, which exists beneath the earth's surface in underground aquifers, is drawn using one of 14 municipal wells and treated at one of five small-scale water treatment plants in Caledon.
More information can be found on our Source Water Homepage under 'What is Source Water?'
- If my main water source is from a private well on my property, how can I ensure that my water is safe to drink?
There are several Peel residents who rely on their private wells as a means for drinking water. If you have a private well on your property, it is your responsibility to maintain it to make sure that your water is safe to drink. Visit Peel's Public Health webpage for Private Wells on action you can take to ensure your drinking water safety.
More information on your responsibility as a homeowner to maintain your private well can be found at the Ministry of Environment Webpage for Private Wells.
- I have a private well. Do I need to conserve water?
Whether you are on a municipal water supply or reply on a private well as a primary source of water supply, the conservation of water is always an important consideration. We depend on water for all aspects of life. We drink with it, wash with it, flush with it and water our lawns and gardens. Although water is naturally recycled, the supply of fresh water is limited. As the population and demand for water increases along with extended droughts, it is important to conserve as much water as possible.
For more tips and information on how to conserve water in your household or business, please visit the Region of Peel's Water Smart Peel webpage.
- My water faucets drip. Should I fix them?
Yes, ensuring that your faucets are functioning properly is an important part of conserving water.
Faucet leaks are often visible. If your faucet drips once the taps are turned off tightly then it is possible that you have a leak. Faucet leaks happen when washers, O-rings, or seals inside the faucet are dirty or worn down. Fixing a leaky faucet by replacing these is generally easy. Remember to turn off the water before doing any faucet leak repairs.
Your water bill is based on the amount of water supplied to your home or business. This includes water you use for activities such as showering, flushing toilets, washing dishes and outdoor water use. Even a small faucet leak can waste water and increase the amount of your water bill.
For more information on detecting and fixing common household leaks, please visit Region of Peel's webpage for Common Leak Culprits under homeowner responsibilities.
- What's the best way to water my lawn to avoid wasting water?
Following some basic outdoor water savings tips can greatly decrease the amount of water wasted when watering your lawn or garden.
Here at the Region of Peel, Water Wise Wednesdays is the one day of the week that residents ae encouraged to avoid watering lawns and gardens. Participation in this initiative helps protect our water supply.
You'll not only save money on your water bill but you'll also help preserve the natural environment by wasting less water.
The Region of Peel's Water Smart Outdoors webpage has some helpful tips and other information to save water when watering your lawn or garden.
- What is the major cause of pollution to the water sources in our cities?
The major cause of pollution to our water sources in our cities are the result of human activity. Activities such as agriculture, industrial activity and urban development all affect the quality and quantity of surface and groundwater resources.
There are some naturally present contaminants that have the potential to cause harm to humans. Some of these contaminants include metals (such as arsenic, mercury and lead) and microorganisms (such as parasites, bacteria and blue-green algae). Water can be contaminated with these compounds and microorganisms if they are naturally present in the surrounding soil or rock.
- What is the best way to protect source water?
We protect sources of water by managing the human and natural influences on them. We need to prevent contamination or overuse of our water resources.
The fewer negative impacts on our sources of water throughout the watershed the better the chance that the water coming out of our taps will be healthy. Protecting our sources of drinking water is absolutely essential to our health.
- What are some things as a property owner I can do to help protect source water?
There are several programs and measures property owners can take to help make sure our source water is protected. For Peel specific programs and initiatives, visit our 'What You Can Do to Protect Water Sources' on our Source Water Protection website.
- Where is our source water most vulnerable?
Under several Technical Studies undertaken by Source Protection Committees, the results compiled in the Assessment Reports identify areas where source water is most vulnerable:
- Wellhead Protection Areas (WHPAs): area around the wellhead and where groundwater travels to the municipal well
- Intake Protection Zones (IPZs): area around the municipal surface water drinking intakes
- Highly Vulnerable Aquifers (HVAs): where groundwater is more susceptible to contamination
- Significant Drinking Water Recharge Areas: where a high abundance of water gets absorbed back into the aquifers
- Who could be affected by Source Protection Planning?
The Source Protection Plan addresses threats with applicable policies for several different land use activities. These policies could potentially affect farmers, businesses, rural residents and other residents whose property resides in a Wellhead Protection Area or other identified zones where the storage or use of certain materials that could pose a threat to source water. For more information on who could be affected, please visit the CTC Source Protection Website.
- Who do I contact for more source water information or to see if I am affected by source water plans & policies in Peel Region?