Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

October 19, 2006

Prof Named Head of Provincial Drinking-Water Panel

A 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 Development.

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 more.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982

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