As part of Ontario’s plan to protect water resources, the province is proposing a new fee for water bottling companies that take groundwater.
Currently, water bottlers are charged $3.71 for every million litres of groundwater they take. Ontario is proposing water bottlers pay an additional $500 fee, which would bring the cost up to $503.71 for every million litres of groundwater taken. If approved, the proposed fee would be among the highest in Canada.
The proposed fee would help recover the costs of managing groundwater taken by water bottlers, including supporting scientific research, policies, outreach and compliance, and would further build upon Ontario’s recent actions to protect groundwater, including:
- Placing a moratorium on all new and expanded permits to take water from groundwater sources for water bottling
- Reviewing existing rules for water bottlers and undertaking further research to ensure long-term groundwater protection, including considering the impacts of climate change and future demand on water sources
- Engaging Indigenous partners on groundwater management
- Consulting with communities and industry on changes to groundwater management practices.
The public can comment on the proposed new fee for water bottlers through the Environmental Registry, available until March 20, 2017.
Ontario is also seeking feedback from the public on stricter rules for existing water bottling companies that use groundwater. The proposed rules are posted on the Environmental Registry for comment and will remain open until Jan. 31, 2017.
In Ontario, water bottling facilities must apply for permits to take water from groundwater sources if the facility takes more than 50,000 litres of water in a day.
Ontario finalized a two-year moratorium on new and expanded water takings by bottling companies on Dec. 16, 2016. The moratorium will remain in effect until Jan. 1, 2019.
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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