Ontario has proposed a two-year moratorium on new or expanded water takings from groundwater by bottling companies, as well as stricter rules for renewals of existing permits. Ontarians have until Dec. 1, 2016 to comment on the proposal through the Environmental Registry. The moratorium will take effect on the date the regulation is filed.
The proposed moratorium will apply to every water bottling facility that takes groundwater and is required to have a permit under the Ontario Water Resources Act. The proposal would reduce the duration of permit renewal applications from 10 years to a maximum of five years and require increased public transparency, new operating guidelines, mandatory reductions on water taking during drought and further scientific studies.
While the moratorium is in place, Ontario plans to:
- Undertake research to improve understanding of groundwater in Ontario
- Review existing rules for adequate protection of groundwater for future generations
- Receive public input and feedback on Ontario’s current groundwater permitting process and groundwater management moving forward.
The government is also considering how pricing and other tools could be used to help manage and protect the province’s water resources, and will provide an update later this fall.
Glen Murray, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change noted: ” Water is essential for the well-being and economic strength in our communities. With a changing climate, and specifically with the impacts from drought and increasing population growth, we want to work with the people of Ontario to make sure that we are properly protecting this vital resource.”
- Groundwater is water held underground in the soil or in pores and crevices in rock.
- Ontario’s drinking water is among the best protected in the world.
- Approximately 34 per cent of plastic bottles are not recycled and end up in landfill.
- Plastic bottles may take up to 1,000 years to decompose.
- Filling a glass or reusable container helps cut back on plastics and pollution.
Manning Environmental Law is a Canadian law firm based in Toronto, Ontario. Our practice is focussed on environmental law, energy law and aboriginal law.
Paul Manning is a certified specialist in environmental law. He has been named as one of the World’s Leading Environmental Lawyers by Who’s Who Legal: 2016.
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