Five Innovations in First Nation Source Water Protection in Ontario

First Nation Source Water Protection - Key to Aboriginal Community Wellbeing

Want the Latest Information on First Nation Source Water Protection Planning in Ontario?

By Don Richardson, Managing Partner, Shared Value Solutions Ltd.

First Nations approaches to water management are now informing Source Water Protection plans in Ontario.  We're working hard to stay informed about innovations being advanced in Ontario by First Nations, conservation authorities, municipalities and others working toward First Nation Source Water Protection Planning for Aboriginal community wellbeing. Here are five innovations we're tracking:

  1. First Nations Pilot Source Water Protection Approaches: Grassy Narrows First Nation and Pays Plat are among those actively working with the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) to pilot the First Nation Source Water Protection (SWP) Planning Toolkit. While none of these communities are mandated to complete SWP plans under the Province of Ontario's Clean Water Act, 2006, they have each decided to take the initiative to protect the watersheds in to their own hands.
  2. The First Nation Source Water Protection Planning Toolkit will be unveiled at the upcoming GroundSwell: Conference on Groundwater Innovation at the University of Guelph, June 16-18, 2014 - With the help of this toolkit, First Nation Communities can develop a source water protection plan that is locally driven and community appropriate.
  3. First Nation & Source Water Protection Committee Collaboration: First Nations in Ontario with reserves in source protection areas may submit a Band Council Resolution to the Minister of the Environment requesting that a regulation be made to include an existing or planned drinking water system that serves or will serve a reserve in the applicable drinking water source protection planning process. Policies included in the source protection plan developed by the relevant regional source protection committee, in concert with a First Nation source water protection plan, would ensure an added level of protection for regional source water .
  4. First Nations Innovate Source Water Protection Planning: At least three First Nations - Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point, Six Nations of the Grand, and most recently Rama First Nation - are to complete Source Water Protection planning processes with regulations under Ontario's Clean Water Act, 2006.
  5. Innovative Approaches: Several conservation authorities, municipalities and First Nations are in the process of innovating unique source water protection approaches, planning models, co-management relationships - several of these will be discussed at GroundSwell: Conference on Groundwater Innovation, and include integration of traditional knowledge, traditional ecological knowledge, traditional land use mapping, and combining scientific and traditional knowledge.

If you want more information on this topic, and many others related to source water protection, groundwater innovation and governance issues, join other water innovators on June 16-18th, 2014 at the University of Guelph, and hear keynote speaker Alexandra Cousteau, founder of water conservation group Blue Legacy, National Geographic Explorer, filmmaker, RBC Blue Water Ambassador, and granddaughter of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.

GroundSwell Conference Presenters on the First Nation Source Water Protection Toolkit: Christopher Waffle, CELA, and Sue Chiblow, Garden River First Nation and Ogamuah annag Consulting

Sue Chiblow of Ogamuah annag Consulting and Environmental Consultant of the Lands & Resources Unit at Mississauga First Nation, has worked in environmental related fields with First Nation communities for the last 20 years. She is well known for her work as Environmental Coordinator with the Chiefs of Ontario. She is one of the spearheads of the First Nation Source Water Protection Toolkit.

Christopher Waffle is the Canadian Environmental Law Association’s source protection campaigner. For three years he helped coordinate the involvement of Ontario environmental non-governmental organizations in the province's source water protection efforts. More recently, he has been working with First Nations on community source protection projects.

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Organized in partnership with Shared Value Solutions Ltd., Ogamuah annag Consulting, the University of Guelph and the Centre for Groundwater Research (g360), the City of Guelph, the Region of Waterloo, Constance Lake First Nation, Six Nations of of the Grand River, the Southern Ontario Water Consortium, the Grand River Conservation Authority, Wellington Water Watchers, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, and the Guelph Water Innovation Cluster.

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At Shared Value Solutions Ltd. we bring the best environmental peer review, strategic advice, community engagement and traditional knowledge, land use, and socio-economic research expertise to address your challenges and opportunities.

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