Government of New Brunswick


In New Brunswick, about 40% of the population obtain their water supply from surface watersheds. That is, an area of land that drains a system of streams, lakes and rivers. One contaminated watershed can mean undrinkable water for thousands of people.

Although not always immediately apparent, land development activities such as commercial and industrial development, agriculture, residential development and forestry activities, can have an impact on the environment. The accumulative affect of several of these activities within the watershed area has the potential for impacting water quality.


Anyone owning or who is developing, constructing, operating or maintaining, within a protected area, an activity or thing which is prohibited, controlled, limited or otherwise affected by the Watershed Protected Area Designation Order, and feels they are not able to comply with the requirements of the Watershed Protected Area Designation Order, must request an exemption from the Minister, in writing.


Each protected zone is defined under the Watershed Protected Area Designation Order. Zone 'A' is defined as any watercourse, including lakes, streams, ponds, rivers or brooks designated as protected, within the watershed area.

Zone 'B', also called the 75-meter setback zone, is an area within a horizontal distance of 75 metres from the bank of watercourses.

Zone 'C' is defined as the remaining area within the watershed, outside the 75-meter setback but within the watershed boundary. This is also sometimes referred to as the balance of the watershed area.

Standards may vary between each zone of protection.