Water Resource System

Applied research on the Water Resource System (WRS) is critical to developing a robust planning strategy that helps to characterize current watershed conditions and assess potential impacts in the face of land use and climate change.

trees are reflected in the water of the Humber River at dusk

What Is a Water Resource System?

A Water Resource System (WRS) is a system of groundwater features and areas and surface water features, and their hydrologic functions. Hydrologic functions are the natural processes that provide the water needed to sustain healthy aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and drinking water for humans.

Select the image below to learn more about the water resource system of the Toronto region.

TRCA Watershed and Ecosystems Reporting Hub - Water Resource System

Visit TRCA’s Watershed & Ecosystems Reporting Hub

Applied Research on the Water Resource System

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s (TRCA) Water Resource System applied research informs strategic planning and management by TRCA and its partner municipalities.

This applied research is essential to land use and infrastructure planning, restoration planning, watershed planning, and Municipal Comprehensive Review processes.

The Water Resource System consists of both Key Hydrological Features (KHFs) and Key Hydrological Areas (KHAs), which ensure that ecological functions and watershed health are maintained for future generations.

KHFs and KHAs, as defined in various provincial policies, comprise the following:

  • Ecologically Significant Groundwater Recharge Areas (ESGRAs)
  • Headwater Drainage Features
  • Intermittent and permanent streams
  • Seepage areas and springs
  • Sensitive species contributing habitat
  • Significant Surface Water Contribution Areas
  • Waterbodies
  • Wetlands

wetland area in the Humber River watershed

The protection afforded to KHFs and KHAs through provincial policies within a watershed is to ensure the safeguard of water quality, water quantity, aquatic ecosystem health, terrestrial ecosystem health, erosion, hydrogeology, and flooding.

Check out TRCA’s Watershed and Ecosystems Reporting Hub to view reporting data for environmental indicators related to the Water Resource System.


TRCA Watershed Planning and Ecosystem Science: wpes@trca.ca