Source Protection Planning

After establishing risk levels for each hazard you’ve identified, you can now develop a Source Protection Plan to mitigate those hazards. Your risk management plan does not have to be complex but it is important to  document the steps taken to address the hazard. 

An effective source protection plan will:


strengthen barriers to each hazard

recognize who is responsible in addressing each hazard

include approximate timelines for implementing the barriers to each hazard

Obviously, you do not have control over all the activities in the watershed or aquifer. However, for the most part, water suppliers are accountable for protecting their water source. Some activities in the watershed will be under the control of multi-jurisdictional government agencies and businesses. Understanding who to contact to help address your hazards is an important part of any source protection plan. Creating a timeline  allows you to budget both your time and financial needs for implementing recommendations.

You can also contact your local Environmental Health Officer or Drinking Water Officer (DWO) of your Regional Health Authority if you need guidance with your source protection plan.

Ultimately, the water supplier, in consultation with the DWO, is responsible for the implementation of the source protection plan. Having this plan will help ensure the risk management strategies are fulfilled. Your implementation strategy should contain information including:

  • the assignment of roles and responsibilities
  • a timeline or schedule for implementation
  • a monitoring program to measure progress
  • how you will allocate resources to fulfill the commitments of the implementation strategy

When you are preparing your source protection plan, it is also a good idea to keep your water users informed of what you are doing. If the water users are included as a stakeholder, they are likely to be more receptive to your plan. 

Reviewing and Updating Your Source Assessment and Source Protection Plan

A source assessment is not a one-time activity. The source assessment report and source protection plan should be reviewed and updated as changes to the water system and environment occur. Your hazard inventory needs to be updated when hazards change or new ones are identified. We recommend conducting a full plan review and updating the assessment report at least every five years (preferably, annually).

Small water supply systems serving small populations and only a few connections can use the basic BC Drinking Water Source-to-Tap Screening Tool. This screening tool provides a preliminary review of the water system and its source. This screening tool should also be revisited every few years.