Canadian Council of Ministers
of the Environment

Le Conseil canadien des ministres
de l'environnement


From Source to Tap: The Multi-barrier Approach

We recycle water, meaning we withdraw it, use it, sometimes clean it, and then return it to the lake or river to be used again by others downstream. This process is called "Source to Tap.”

It is important that drinking water is kept clean, safe and reliable. In order to do so, the components of the water supply system, from source protection to the treatment and distribution of drinking water to consumers, need to be understood and managed as a whole.

Even though no approach will guarantee 100% protection all of the time, it has been demonstrated that the most effective way to manage drinking water systems is to implement a multi-barrier approach. The multi-barrier approach is an integrated system that prevents or reduces the contamination of drinking water, from source to tap, in order to reduce risks to public health.