Water protection

Water Services program areas include supply, protection, conservation and wastewater

Water: ours to protect

The Region of Waterloo has been protecting sources of drinking water since 1994. The Water Resources Protection Master Plan details our approaches to keeping water clean, areas to protect, activities to manage and the programs to deliver.

In Waterloo Region, some of the water comes from the Grand River with most from groundwater aquifers.

Help protect water at home

Help keep water clean at home

  • Limit winter salt use. When snow melts or when it rains, the salt placed on roads, parking lots and sidewalks to keep us safe, washes into our waterways or travels underground. Over time, if we don't manage our salt use, salt levels will increase in the drinking water causing it to taste salty. Learn more on how to Curb The Salt.
  • Set water softener to correct water hardness. Help reduce the amount of salt going into the Grand River by using an efficient water softener set for the correct water hardness in your area. Water Softener Facts website includes water hardness maps and information on water softeners.
  • Return unused and expired medications to your pharmacy. Medicines poured down your sink or flushed down your toilet may end up in our waterways. Medicines thrown in the trash have the potential to leach out into the ground at the landfill. Find out more at Don't Flush That!
  • Properly store and dispose of chemicals, oils and paints. Store securely closed materials in their original containers in a locked area away from children. Consider using green alternatives for cleaning.  Properly dispose of unused materials. Find out what to do at Don't Flush That!

Help protect water around the farm

Help keep water clean on the farm

  • Properly maintain private wells. Make sure your well meets current standards. Inspect your well regularly and keep it in good running order. Limit use of potential contaminants including de-icers, hazardous materials and manure. For more information visit Well Aware.

Did you know? Private well owners are responsible for testing their drinking water. Free testing is available from the Region of Waterloo Public Health.

  • Plug and seal unused wells. Properly plug and seal wells no longer used or maintained to remove the possibility of contaminants entering the groundwater aquifer. For more information visit Well Aware.
  • Properly maintain septic systems. Conserve water to limit wastewater to be treated. Properly dispose of harmful chemicals to limit the risk of contaminants leaching into the ground. Regularly pump out the tank. Signs of a malfunctioning system include unusually green or spongy grass over area or household drains slow down.  To learn more visit The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
  • Follow best management practices for nutrients. Help protect your water supply. Follow best practices including keeping livestock out of watercourses and storing manure in an enclosure on an impermeable pad.  For more ideas visit The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs .

Help protect water on industrial properties

Help keep water clean on industrial properties

  • Properly handle and store chemicals. Prevent spills by storing chemicals in double-walled storage containers with secondary containment. Prepare for a spill by completing a spills response plan and training staff. Learn more about spills prevention and response.
  • Use winter salt and de-icers efficiently and effectively. When snow melts or when it rains, the salt placed on roads, parking lots and sidewalks to keep us safe, washes into our waterways or travels underground. Improve winter safety using less salt. Curb The Salt  with these tools and tips.
  • Properly dispose of fat, oil and grease. Improper disposal of fat, oil and grease (FOG) can block pipes which may overflow causing health concerns, environmental issues and property damage. Learn more at Don't Flush That!
  • Keep pollutants out of sanitary and storm sewers. To help protect the environment and water quality, it is important to properly dispose of materials including pharmaceuticals, paints and chemicals. The Sewer Use By-law 1-90 regulates and controls the discharge of water and wastewater into the sanitary and/or storm sewer distribution system. Learn more at Don't Flush That!