Municipal Affairs and Environment

Land and Water Developments

Policy for Land and Water Related Developments in Protected Public Water Supply Areas

Division: Water Resources Management P.D. W.R. 95-01
Prepared By: Haseen Khan, P.Eng. Issue Date: April 7, 1995
Approved By: Wasi Ullah Director Re-Issue Date: March 10, 1999
Approved By: David Jeans ADM Review Date:
Authorized By: John M. Fleming DM Superseded:
Kevin Aylward Minister Cancelled:


Policy guidelines for land and water related developments in protected public water supply areas.


The policy will establish a mechanism for issuing a certificate of environmental approval under Section 39 of the Water Resources Act, SNL 2002 cW-4.01 for all development activities in a designated water supply area. The implementation of the policy guidelines will ensure sustainable development of natural resources without adversely affecting water quality.


Water Resources Act, SNL 2002 cW-4.01, Section 39


The existing and proposed development activities in protected water supply areas will be subject to the following policy guidelines established under Section 39 of the Act.


"Act" means the Water Resources Act, SNL 2002 cW-4.01.

"Development" means the carrying out of an activity or operation on, over, or under land or water for social or economic benefits, or the making of any change in the use of the intensity of use of any land, water, building or premises.

All other definitions appearing in the Act shall equally apply to this policy when employed herein.


5.1 This policy shall apply to public water supply areas designated under Section 39 of the Act.

5.2 Existing resource development and other activities will be allowed to continue unless it is established that these are impairing water quality or have potential to impair water quality.

5.3 If it is established that a particular activity is a source of pollution, then appropriate measures as outlined in Sections 11, 12 and 13 of this policy directive will apply.

5.4 The Minister may require proponents of existing activities, which have potential to impair water quality, to obtain his/her approval.

5.5 No development shall be carried out in a designated area except in accordance with this policy.

5.6 No person shall carry out any development in a designated area without obtaining prior approval in writing from the Minister.


6.1 Placing, depositing or discharging or permitting the placing, depositing or discharging into a body of water any sewage, refuse, chemicals , municipal and industrial wastes or any other material which impairs or has potential to impair water quality.

6.2 Using an intake pond, lake or specified buffer zones for any activity detrimental to water quality and not permitted in the Act.

6.3 Using ice covered water body for transporting logs, riding skidoos/motor vehicles/all-terrain vehicles, leading of animals, or any other activity which impairs or has potential to impair water quality.

6.4 Using or operating existing facilities in such a manner which impairs or has potential to impair water quality.

6.5 Residential development (a sub-division of four or more lots), vehicle maintenance facilities, warehouses, service stations, industries, and chemicals and salt storage depots.

6.6 Storage and disposal of pesticides and manure, application of manure and chemicals in specified buffer zones, extensive land clearing, and peat land drainage without adequate treatment.

6.7 Clear cutting of forest in sensitive areas, establishment of camps and camp facilities, storage of chemicals, application of pesticides, drainage of peat land for afforestation, and application of toxic fire retardants.

6.8 Resorts, hotels/motels, and golf courses.

6.9 Activities, operations or facilities associated with aggregate extraction and mineral exploration such as work camps, vehicle parking and maintenance facilities, washing of aggregates, asphalt plants, discharge or deposit of waste material into a body of water, and significant disturbance to land for mineral exploration purposes.

6.10 Application of herbicides in the right-of-way, and use of chemically treated utility poles and other related structures.

6.11 Aquaculture development and associated activities having potential to impair water quality.

6.12 Processing and manufacturing plants having potential to impair water quality.

6.13 Cemetery, waste disposal facilities, and any other storage or disposal facilities that the Minister considers environmentally unacceptable.


In a designated area, no person shall undertake any of the following activities without obtaining prior written approval from the Minister:

7.1 Expansion and upgrading of the existing activities, operations or facilities.

7.2 Construction of residential, commercial, industrial and institutional facilities or any other related activity including land clearing or drainage, construction of access roads, servicing of lands for subsequent use, or extension and upgrading of existing buildings or facilities.

7.3 Development of farm lands for crop production, forage production, vegetable production, and blueberry and other fruit production.

7.4 Forest logging, resource road construction and use, stream crossing for controlled access, preparation of skid trails and landing areas, silvicultural activities, tree farming, and other environmentally acceptable forestry operations.

7.5 Recreational activities or facilities including cottage development, fishing, swimming, boating, hiking, camp grounds, or canoe routes, vacation or other camps, or recreational facilities.

7.6 Mineral exploration related activities and aggregate extraction, or any other construction activity incidental to mining and quarrying including access roads, stream crossings, land drainage with adequate treatment, land clearing and excavation.

7.7 Installation of storm or sanitary sewer pipelines, pipelines for transmission of water for hydroelectric generation, agriculture uses, or any other purposes.

7.8 Construction of roads, bridges, culverts, and other stream crossings, and installation of power and telecommunication transmission lines.

7.9 Modification to intake structures, pumphouse, reservoir, etc. will require approval under Section 37 of Act.

7.10 Any other development or activity which, in the opinion of the Minister, has caused impairment or has potential to impair water quality.


8.1 The proponent shall submit a detailed development plan along with maps, drawings and specifications and other information as required by the Minister for approval.

8.2 The Minister may, on the recommendation of his/her officials, issue a certificate of approval for the proposed development on such terms and conditions as the Minister considers necessary to protect water quality.

8.3 The proponent shall obtain separate approvals from the Minister under Section 48 of the Act, for all permanent or temporary stream crossings or for alteration to bodies of water that may be necessary to carry out the approved development.

8.4 The proponent shall also obtain licences, permits or approvals under other acts and regulations as required prior to commencing the approved work.

8.5 The proponent of the approved development shall notify the municipal authority or the person responsible for the operation and maintenance of the waterworks by providing a copy of the approval issued under this policy before commencing the work.

8.6 The proponent shall maintain adequate liaison and consultation with the person or authority responsible for the operation and maintenance of the waterworks during the implementation and operation of the approved work.

8.7 The Minister may require the inspection of the approved development from time to time by his/her officials to ensure that the development is carried out in an environmentally acceptable manner and the proponent is complying with the terms and conditions of the approval.

8.8 The Minister may require a proponent to monitor water quality according to a monitoring program approved by the Minister in order to evaluate the impact of the approved development on public water supply.

8.9 The Minister encourages the departments and agencies responsible for resource management and affected by this policy to develop environmental protection guidelines for resource utilization in protected water supply areas, for compliance by proponents or developers.


9.1 The proponents shall provide the following widths of buffer zones along and around water bodies from the high water mark in a designated area:

Water Body Width of Buffer Zones
Intake pond or lake a minimum of 150 metres
River intake a minimum of 150 metres for a distance of one km upstream and 100 m downstream
Main river channel a minimum of 75 metres
Major tributaries, lakes or ponds a minimum of 50 metres
Other water bodies a minimum of 30 metres

9.2 No development activity shall be permitted in buffer zones except those which are intended to promote vegetation.


The municipal authority or person responsible for the operation and maintenance of a waterworks shall:

10.1 Ensure that no development activities are undertaken in a designated area without approval from the Minister.

10.2 Ensure that approved development activities are undertaken in strict compliance with the terms and conditions of the approval.

10.3 Where an approval or this policy is violated, serve a stopping order on the violator after obtaining prior approval from the Minister for stopping any work or operation either permanently or temporarily which is not carried out according to the terms and conditions of the approval and has impaired or has potential to impair water quality.

10.4 Request the Minister for the appointment of a Watershed Monitoring Committee and the development of a watershed management plan, if the designated area is under increasing pressure for multiple development activities.


If the quality of water has been impaired by any activity, practice, or action taken deliberately, negligently or accidentally, the Minister may order the proponent

  1. to provide alternate water supply for the affected community for as long as is necessary to restore the existing water supply system;
  2. to restore the water quality to its original condition; or
  3. to take necessary measures including the removal of facilities, undertakings, cabins, etc. and to rehabilitate the affected area at his/her expense in order to rectify the water pollution related problems.


(A) Cancellation of Approval

The Minister may revoke an approval:

12.1 For failure of the proponent of any development or activity to comply with the terms and conditions stipulated in the approval.

12.2 Where the approval was issued in error on the basis of incorrect or incomplete information.

12.3 Where the approved activities or operations are causing or have potential to cause impairment of water quality for reasons not anticipated at the time the approval was issued.

(B) Changing Boundaries

The Minister may change the boundaries of a designated area either to enlarge or reduce its size.


A person who undertakes any development or activity in a designated area without prior written approval from the Minister is guilty of an offence under the Act.

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