The Oak Ridges Moraine is the underground reservoir that supplies domestic water to the Greater Toronto Area. Snowmelt and rain received in the area slowly infiltrate into subsurface soil and rock where it is purified by the sand and gravel aquifers before finding its way to the moraine. The moraine, in turn, feeds the headwaters of major rivers, the rivers which in turn provide ensure that there is plenty of water in most parts of Toronto.
The area is not tied down by its own morphological limits as it is intertwined with other regional flow systems. Other features that are part of its hydrological mechanism where the moraine is located include other aquifers and recharge areas. These aquifers and recharge areas also provide domestic water for surrounding areas. There are also springs, seepage areas, ponds, kettle lakes wetlands and ephemeral streams.
This hydrology system is linked to numerous watersheds some of which include Scugog River, Bowmanville and Soper Creeks, Lynde Creek, and many others water systems that are well known both locally and internationally. This signifies it’s importance and an ecological system and area that must be protected and maintained.
As this area supplies the bulk of domestic water to the wider parts of Toronto, the authorities running the areas over there are responsible for ensuring that the moraine is preserved by limiting and managing any development in the moraine. The Conservation Act of 2001 which is also named after the moraine is the law gazetted in order to ensure that any development in this area is within the confines of the law and that the development meets the conditions specified in this act. As a golden rule, this regulation stipulates that any development which affects water quality (surface streams and aquifers) by increasing organic and metal contaminants is strictly prohibited.