Public Water System Data

Drinking water systems in Manitoba are classified into three (3) categories for regulatory and monitoring purposes:

  • Public water systems have 15 or more service connections, or have otherwise been designated a public water system.
  • Semi-public water systems are defined as water systems that are not public water systems or private water systems. They include small systems with less than 15 service connections and public facilities such as schools, care facilities or restaurants with their own water supply.
  • Private systems supply water to only one private residence, or have otherwise been designated a private water system.

There are over 400 public water systems in Manitoba, roughly 30% of which rely on surface water as their source of supply, and 70% of which rely on groundwater. Approximately 90% of the population of Manitoba receives their drinking water from a public water system. Roughly 75% of public water system customers rely on a surface water source, including the major population centers of Winnipeg and Brandon. There are a growing number of regional water supply systems serving rural areas. There are approximately 750 regulated semi-public water systems, and 35,000 to 50,000 private water systems, most of which rely on groundwater wells.

Public and semi-public water systems are regulated under The Drinking Water Safety Act (2002). The Act outlines the steps that people who supply drinking water to the public (water suppliers) must take to ensure that water is safe to drink. Manitoba Conservation and Climate’s Office of Drinking Water enforces The Drinking Water Safety Act.

Public and semi-public water systems must meet certain design, operation and monitoring requirements. The construction, operation and monitoring of private water systems such as private wells remain the responsibility of the system owner. Drinking water systems at federal facilities or on federal lands such as military bases and national parks, and drinking water systems serving First Nations communities fall under federal legislation and the federal drinking water program. Additional information on drinking water systems in First Nations communities is available at the following website: www.canada.ca/en/indigenous-services-canada.html.

The Drinking Water Quality Standards Regulation (2007) sets legally enforceable standards for Manitoba's public and semi-public water systems based on the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality set by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water chaired by Health Canada. The provincial regulation adopts a subset of the national health-based guidelines that have potential to affect Manitoba water supplies.  Summary water quality data showing Manitoba public water systems compliance with drinking water quality standards has been available on the Public Water System Data Portal since 2011.