We need to protect our vital water resources. Urban sprawl is developing and paving over sensitive stream headwater and groundwater areas. Protected areas like the Greenbelt, green infrastructure in our communities, and ‘low impact development’ landscaping installations, such as rain gardens, bioswales, soakaway pits and greenroofs, all help to protect our groundwater systems, and prevent pollutants from entering creeks and lakes.
One of our OCA Youth Stewards leaders, Christine Macpherson, is doing her part by sharing ways we can all take action to protect water quality and groundwater:
~ You Can Help to Protect Our Groundwater ~
Groundwater is an essential resource that provides clean drinking water to over 30% of the Canadian population. Groundwater is found below our forests, farmlands, and cities, yet most people do not understand its true importance in our daily lives. Although invisible to the human eye, we use it for farming, drinking water, and for industrial processes. Not only is this resource important, it is also more vulnerable now than ever before.
Our groundwater is being depleted in many areas across Canada due to over-pumping and pollution. The quality of our groundwater matters just as much as its quantity. The use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers infiltrates through groundwater into our water supply, increasing the need for chemicals used in purification.
There are many ways that we can help to protect our groundwater. It can be as simple as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth. Another way is to plant native grasses and gardens with plants native to the climate of Ontario. These plants will reduce the need for chemical applications and extensive watering, protecting our groundwater in the process. Some species of grass native to Ontario are sweetgrass and bluestem grass. More information on plants native to Ontario can be found here.
It is also important to properly manage hazardous waste (batteries, pharmaceuticals, motor oil, etc). Most communities, including the Halton region, have facilities to properly dispose of this waste. Hazardous materials can be disposed of at the Household Hazardous Waste Depot at the Halton Waste Management Site, 5400 Regional Road 25 in Milton. In doing this, we keep toxic chemicals out of our water supply and also protect the environment.
In conclusion, we need to protect this essential resource. It may not be as visible as the lakes and rivers that flow through Canada, but it is just as important.
OCA Youth Steward Leader