Source: University of Guelph
Prof Named Head of Provincial Drinking-Water Panel
October 19, 2006
University of Guelph professor will head a panel of experts to advise the
provincial government on protecting sources of drinking water and meeting
needs of rural communities. The appointment complements Ontario’s Clean
Water Act, which was approved Wednesday and requires communities to identify
and eliminate any significant risks to their water supplies.
"My hope would be that the panel can be creative and identify
recommendations that meet the needs and aspirations of all stakeholders,"
said Prof. Al Lauzon of Guelph’s School of Environmental Design and Rural
The 11-member panel Lauzon will head includes agricultural, municipal and
conservation authority representatives. It will advise Queen’s Park on how
to use a new provincial funding program, worth $7 million in its first year.
The program is intended to help farmers and rural businesses reduce threats
to local drinking-water sources.
Under an amendment this fall to Ontario’s Clean Water Act, the provincial
government will provide $5 million in 2007/08 to protect municipal water
wells and surface water intakes, and another $2 million over the same period
for education on source protection planning.
Lauzon is past chair of the Ontario Rural Council (TORC), representing
almost 40 rural organizations across Ontario. This summer, it held an
environmental forum on source-water protection and the Clean Water Act,
which drew participants from across the province.
"Al played a very key role in providing leadership to the Ontario Rural
Council during the past year," said Harold Flaming, the council’s executive
director. "The provincial ministry is recognizing that TORC is a key voice
for rural Ontario. It’s appropriate that Al should chair this advisory
committee to ensure that the broad range of rural and source-water
protection concerns are heard."
Ontario has revised its drinking-water regulations since the tainted-water
tragedy in Walkerton in 2000 that killed seven people and sickened thousands
For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona
Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982