Waterloo Region relies on groundwater for drinking water. Unlike surface water in rivers and lakes, groundwater is hidden. Where you are standing right now, there could be groundwater underneath you. It might take some digging to get to it, but it's there. Groundwater is in an aquifer; layers of sand, rock or gravel. Groundwater is the rain or melted snow that soaks into the ground filling the void spaces between sand grains, rock or gravel, moving ever so slowly - about a few metres every year.

Salt is damaging to groundwater.

Over time the salt - including ice melters labelled as environmentally friendly - we put on the ground can end up in our drinking water and cause it to taste salty. After the salt melts the ice, it doesn't go away. Salt is damaging to the environment including our community's drinking water. It may soak into the ground to mix with groundwater (our drinking water) or enter a storm basin that connects with the local waterway. The I Am Groundwater blog post "Is salt really that bad for water?" discusses the impacts of salt on water.

Help keep salt out of groundwater.

Actions you can take to protect groundwater

For more ideas, visit the Region of Waterloo's water protection page.

Groundwater's journey to your tap
  1. You can find groundwater in an aquifer. When it rain or the snow melts, the water soaks into the ground to fill the spaces between sand grains, rock or gravel in an aquifer.
  2. A pipe or well is put into the ground to collect the groundwater. The Region of Waterloo manages over 120 wells that supply groundwater to homes and businesses.
  3. After the groundwater is pumped up the well it is treated and tested before going through underground pipes to your home.

What the Region of Waterloo is doing to protect groundwater

Through water protection programs, the Region of Waterloo is:

Education resources and activities

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