The Lakehead Source Protection Area was created under the “Clean Water Act” as one of the 19 areas and regions across the province identified for development of local Source Protection Plans. Source Protection Areas and Regions were formed based on the watersheds or groups of watersheds managed by Conservation Authorities in Ontario.
Conservation Authorities were selected to facilitate the process for Source Protection Planning because of their organization on a watershed basis and their history as watershed management agencies in Ontario.
Conservation Authorities have the knowledge of watershed management and connections to local Municipalities required to guide the development of local, science-based plans to protect the sources of Municipal residential drinking water.
The Lakehead Source Protection Area is one of five Source Protection Areas in Northern Ontario.
Map of the Lakehead Source Protection Area
The Lakehead Source Protection Area expands beyond the area of jurisdiction for the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority to include the scientific boundaries of the watershed. The watershed consists of 11,526 square kilometres and is the largest Source Protection Area by area in the province. The rivers and streams in the watershed flow in a predominately southeasterly direction draining into Lake Superior. The population of the defined area is 121,829 with Thunder Bay the major centre with a population of approximately 110,000.
Municipalities in the Lakehead Source Protection Area
The City of Thunder Bay and the Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge are the only two organized Municipalities within the Lakehead Source Protection Area served by Municipal residential drinking water systems. Approximately 92% of the 110,000 residents in the City of Thunder Bay receive their drinking water from the Bare Point Water Treatment Plant which operates a surface water intake in Lake Superior. An estimated 8% of the residents of the City of Thunder Bay receive their drinking water from private wells that access ground water sources.
The Municipal residential drinking water system in the Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge serves approximately 30 properties in the hamlet of Rosslyn Village. Two groundwater wells provide the source water for the Municipal system while approximately 60 residents access the same groundwater aquifer, with private wells, for their supply of drinking water.
Map of Municipal Residential Drinking Water Systems
There are six other Municipalities in the jurisdiction of the Lakehead Source Protection Area, none of which have Municipal residential drinking water systems. They include the Municipalities of Shuniah and Neebing and the Townships of Dorion, Conmee, O’Connor and Gillies. Residents of these rural communities obtain their drinking water through private groundwater wells.
There are unorganized townships outside the jurisdictional boundary of the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority but contained within the boundary of the Lakehead Source Protection Area. The residents of these rural areas also obtain their drinking water through private groundwater wells.
Lakehead Region Conservation Authority
The Lakehead Region Conservation Authority (LRCA) is one of 36 Conservation Authorities across Ontario, including five in Northern Ontario.
The LRCA is a community-based environmental agency responsible for the wise management of renewable natural resources within its Lake Superior watershed. Conservation Authorities undertake a broad range of programs including: flood control, floodplain management, wetland protection, erosion control, reforestation, conservation lands, conservation education and source protection.
History: Formed in 1963 by an expansion of the Neebing Valley Conservation Authority, which was constituted in 1954.
Area of Jurisdiction: Boundaries correspond to those of its eight participating municipalities; encompasses an area of approximately 2600 sq. km and extends along 200 km of Lake Superior shoreline. Map
Mandate: Conservation Authorities, created in 1946 by the "Conservation Authorities Act", are mandated to ensure the conservation, restoration and responsible management of Ontario's water, land and natural habitats through programs that balance human, environmental and economic needs.
Service: An integrated approach to resource management leads to a wide range of programs and projects, which are aimed at keeping our watersheds healthy. The LRCA works to improve the quality of life by actively providing open space and protecting life and property from flooding and erosion, as well as restoring and conserving aquatic and natural habitats. In addition to serving our watershed residents, we also provide advice and counsel to all levels of government on the responsible management of water.
Made possible through the support of the Government of Ontario