Top 6 Reason to Grow the Greenbelt in the Grand River Watershed

The Grand River watershed is made up of rivers, moraines, extensive forests, provincially significant wetlands and provincially rare grasslands that clean and filter the drinking water for approximately 925,000 people in Guelph, Wellington, Kitchener, Cambridge, Waterloo, Brantford and other towns and cities. We cannot afford to take all this for granted: we need to protect these drinking water sources. 


Proposed Greenbelt Expansion into the Grand River watershed. See larger Grand River Watershed map. 

Luckily, right now we have an opportunity to permanently protect the Grand River Watershed. Here are the top 6 reasons to Grow our Greenbelt to protect our clean water supplies:


Watershed 101 

The Grand River watershed filters and cleans our drinking water for about 85% of the people living in the watershed – over 925,000 people. By 2031 this is forecast to grow by over a third to 1.2 million. We need to protect these vital water resources and our supply of clean drinking water while managing such growth.


Long Term Protection

Right now, each town and city along the Grand River sets its own policies and guidelines on water preservation and protection, resulting in a patchwork of protections. By growing the Greenbelt into the Grand River watershed, we can make sure all water resources are permanently protected.


Reducing Costly Legal Battles

Waterloo Region spent 10 years and $3 million on defending its regional plan at the Ontario Municipal Board. With the Greenbelt protection this would have been avoided, saving taxpayers’ money and scarce municipal resources.


The Impact of Sprawl

The watershed is highly sensitive to changes from increased urbanization from loss of habitat, to increased demand for water, and increase in pollution. We need to protect vital watersheds to withstand these pressures.


Climate Change

This summer’s record drought is a sign of things to come. With 75% of the watershed being farmed, low water levels are a worrying sign for farmers reliant on irrigation. More droughts also mean a higher risk of flash flooding. Protecting green space can reduce these risks.


Protect Water Now

Growing the Greenbelt in the Grand River Watershed would permanently protect prime farmland, speciality cropland, water sources, and environmentally significant land from inappropriate development right now – not at some point in the future.