Trust the Tap Campaign Acknowledges Advancements Since the Walkerton Tragedy

Published on: 2020/08/10 - in Releases

RELEASE — Source Protection Authorities across the province, along with Conservation Ontario have developed a campaign to acknowledge all the advancements in municipal water treatment and delivery that have taken place since the Walkerton tragedy. The “Trust the Tap” campaign was developed to raise awareness of the safety measures now in place, protecting most of the municipal drinking water systems in the province.

It is hard to believe that 20 years have passed since the water supply in Walkerton, Ontario was contaminated with E. coli and Campylobacter jejuni bacteria, resulting in the death of seven people and severe illness affecting over 2,000 people.

Since May 2000, the Provincial government, Municipalities, Conservation Authorities and Source Protection Committees throughout much of Ontario have done excellent work to improve the quality of municipal drinking water by following recommendations of the Walkerton Inquiry which was led by Justice Dennis O’Connor.

To date collectively we have done a thorough assessment of threats to municipal drinking water and implemented source protection plan policies to reduce the associated risks in much of Ontario. Municipal drinking water is regulated to a higher standard than bottled water in Ontario, so it is time to encourage trust,” John Williamson, Source Protection Committee Chair commented. “However, there is still work to be done to consider all aspects of the drinking water system in Ontario. There are many hamlets, clusters of private wells, vulnerable populations in rural setting that are outside the current source protection framework.”

Municipalities, Conservation Authorities and the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks have played an integral part in developing a multi-barrier approach that has been adopted across much of the province. The multi-barrier approach ensures that municipal drinking water is protected and improved from the source to the tap. After 20 years, it is an appropriate time to recognize the work that has been done to make municipal drinking water safe.

“We want the ‘Trust the Tap’ campaign to raise awareness of all the efforts that have been done since the Walkerton tragedy and to help change people’s attitudes toward municipal drinking water,” said Holly Evans, Cataraqui Conservation Watershed Planning Coordinator. A logo has been designed that is being promoted and used across the province on websites and social media. The idea of the campaign is to widely distribute the “Trust the Tap” logo as a clickable image linked to the Cataraqui Source Protection website, that provides information on the various accomplishments at each step of the multi-barrier approach.

The “Trust the Tap” campaign is another step in promoting all the positive things that have happened since Walkerton. “We know that many people trust only bottled water but there are also issues caused because so much single use plastic is generated from that business. There is a safe alternative and we want people to know all the improvements that have taken place because of Walkerton,” Evans added.

For more information about the Cataraqui Source Protection Area visit

Release source:
: Steve Johnson (cc)