What is the Bluebelt?

The proposed 1.5 million acre Bluebelt will protect more of the Ontario’s critical water supplies. This protection will permanently safeguard the sources of clean drinking water for over 1.25 million residents as well as supporting agriculture and rural economies, and preserving natural heritage. The areas identified for permanent protection provide a variety of important functions:

  • acting as ‘rainbarrels’ to filter and store precipitation, recharging groundwater supplies,
  • sustaining pollution-fighting forests and prime growing soil,
  • providing base flow to rivers and lakes, and
  • protecting downstream communities from flooding and erosion.

More specifically, the Bluebelt:

Provides Permanent Protection

  • stops urban encroachment and inappropriate development
  • sustains the source of drinking water for thousands of residents
  • increases resilience to climate change impacts such as droughts, floods and extreme weather events
  • reduces fragmentation and disruption of natural and agricultural systems
  • uniformly protects wetlands, streams, seepage areas and springs

Strengthens Local Economies

  • provides certainty for future land-uses, spurring investment in agriculture and the rural economy
  • directs investment towards natural capital and living green infrastructure and can reduce flood-related costs
  • protects natural areas enjoyed by locals and tourists alike

Protecting the proposed ‘Bluebelt’ from urban development is particularly important for inland communities such as Waterloo, Guelph-Wellington and Simcoe County, as they rely heavily on groundwater supplies. The only alternative—building costly infrastructure to pipe in water from the Great Lakes—will cause urban sprawl outside built-up areas, paving over areas important for preventing downstream flooding and recharging aquifers.

(Photo Source: Photographer Tomasz Furmanek)
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