Water 101 for politicians

What do you need to know to do your job?

Water is a complicated, often challenging topic. It involves legal and health issues, infrastructure, energy consumption, labour and employee management, chemistry, biology, development, planning, flooding, stormwater and wastewater, treatment, and much more. There are numerous water-related laws and provincial policies you should know, as well as various agencies, authorities and associations who may be involved at different levels. And, in some areas such as the Great Lakes, there are both federal and provincial authorities engaged in water.

Not only is there a responsibility, but municipal politicians have a legal liability to manage their water systems effectively and properly. Failing to do so can result in serious consequences and legal actions.

We’re putting together this page to help provide information and offer some guidance, as well as a few tips to help you get started. First, here are some of the websites and links to documents that you should explore if you are a municipal councillor, or someone considering running for office in an upcoming election. This page will be updated frequently.

We are looking for articles for the  next installment of (Water)3 on Water 101: What Every Politician Should Know. Share your tips, photographs and your stories with us so we can share them. Help us prepare municipal politicians across the province so we can have fully informed and educated councils in the coming term. Contact us or send your submissions to: Communications Director Ontario Municipal Water Association communications@omwa.org

About the Safe Drinking Water Act:

The Act itself: www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/02s32
The Ontario Government’s page on drinking water: www.ontario.ca/page/drinking-water
The Ontario Government’s page on source protection: www.ontario.ca/page/source-protection
The Ontario Government’s page on municipal drinking water system: www.ontario.ca/page/municipal-drinking-water-systems-licencing-registration-and-permits
From the Canadian Environmental Law Association and a PDF of their FAQ on the Act.
The Ontario Water Quality Report (2014)
Ontario’s Clean Water Act
CELA’s Fact Sheet: What is the provincial legal structure around water in Ontario? (2012)
WaterTap’s article on Ontario’s Progressive Water Policy

Technical links:

Ontario Wastewater Certification Office (OWWCO)
Stormwater management and design

From the US EPA: Basic Information about Lead in Drinking Water

See our Links page for more.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email