The purpose of this paper is to exemplify through recent research in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) the extent of the current limitations for source water protection and potential opportunities for improvement in the province, particularly for rural communities. The findings of this paper draw from the results of four related studies led by the co-authors. These four studies took place in NL between 2012 and 2016, and derived data through a mixed-method approach using literature reviews, key informant interviews, surveys, and consultations. The article provides an overview of the state of source water protection in NL and the challenges faced, with case examples to illustrate key points. Findings indicate there is currently a source water protection gap in NL limiting local governments in implementing their source water protection obligations under provincial policy and regulations. This implementation gap has been attributed to a lack of capacity for watershed monitoring, a lack of awareness of the need for source water protection and of municipal responsibilities, conflicts over multi-use watersheds and a lack of watershed planning and management. Greater education and collaboration in source water protection efforts amongst all watershed users, watershed groups, local governments and the provincial government could offer promise to fill this gap.
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