Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Protecting Our Sources

Protecting Surface Water

Here are some things you can do to protect your surface water source or watershed:

  1. Get a water license or permit, if available. This will formally stake your claim to water so that human activity in your vicinity must be consistent with protecting your legal right to water.
  2. Minimize the impact of your activity in areas along lakeshores and riverbanks. Watering livestock away from surface water or picking up after pets on walks in watersheds are two simple examples.
  3. Avoid using chemicals in areas along lakeshores and riverbanks.
  4. Ensure your septic tank does not leak into a lake or stream.
  5. Report to local authorities anyone you think may be polluting your water.
  6. Minimize your impact on storm water runoff which flows back to rivers. Washing your car on the lawn and avoiding the use of road salt are examples of things you can do. Anything that goes down the drain will end up in the water somewhere.
  7. Join a coalition or organization to raise awareness of watershed issues in your community.

Protecting Ground Water

Areas of sand or gravel are at higher risk; it is much easier for hazardous materials to reach ground water through sand or gravel than through clay.

Here are some things you can do to protect your ground water:

  1. Don’t store or dump hazardous materials on the ground.
  2. Seal abandoned or unused wells so that hazardous materials cannot enter your ground water.
  3. Restrict all roads, buildings, and storage to within a 30-metre (100 foot) radius of a well.
  4. Remove buried oil and gas tanks before they leak.
  5. Report people who you think may be contaminating your ground water.
  6. Keep as many chemical test records as possible so you can see if your ground water quality is changing.
  7. Pump your septic tank so that you reduce the amount of poor-quality effluent you are discharging into the ground.*
  8. Participate in government initiatives to protect ground water.

*NB: The fact that sewage is not backing up into your house or onto your lawn does not necessarily mean that your septic tank and field are working properly. It is important to note that shallow ground water is easily contaminated by septic field runoff.