Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada


Surface Water

Protection / Watershed Management

The goal of surface water protection is to protect water quality by minimizing contamination within the watershed. Nova Scotia Environment works with municipalities and stakeholders to protect surface waters from various watershed influences through watershed management planning and the use of best management practices (BMPs).

In watersheds where municipalities rely on surface water sources for drinking water, the development of Source Water Protection Plans is a requirement of NSE approvals. The documents can also serve as a guide to protect surface waters for other beneficial water uses - such as aquatic life habitat, recreational, and agricultural uses.

To protect a surface water supply, the area that contributes water to the surface water body needs to be delineated so that potential sources of contamination can be identified and managed. This is described in Step 2 of the department’s “Developing a Municipal Source Water Protection Plan”. Step 3 outlines how to identify potential sources of contamination while Step 4 identifies options for managing contaminant sources.

The following guidance documents are also available from the Watershed Planners in the Water and Wastewater Branch to assist municipalities or other stakeholders with Best Management Practices.

To obtain a copy of these publications contact us.

  • A Guide to Recommended Agricultural Practices within Municipal Drinking Water Supply Areas in Nova Scotia
  • Best Management Practices/Forest Planning in Municipal Drinking Water Supply Areas in Nova Scotia
  • Mineral Exploration and Development in Municipal Water Supply Areas