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E-M:/ ontario water takings moratorium
- Subject: E-M:/ ontario water takings moratorium
- From: "Dave Dempsey" <email@example.com>
- Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 13:57:24 -0500
- Delivered-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Delivered-To: email@example.com
- List-Name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-To: "Dave Dempsey" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ministry of the Environment
December 18, 2003
ONTARIO’S MORATORIUM ON NEW AND EXPANDED
WATER-TAKING PERMITS FOR PRODUCTS SUCH AS BOTTLED WATER
On December 18, 2003, the McGuinty Government took
action to stop the reckless giveaway of Ontario’s precious water resources by
announcing an immediate one-year moratorium on new and expanded water-taking
permits for products such as bottled water.
moratorium applies to:
The moratorium is in effect from
December 18, 2003 until December 31, 2004. It applies to new and expanded
water-taking permits for products such as bottled water, and for other uses that
remove water from the watershed. It applies in Southern Ontario and in
those Northern Ontario watersheds that are covered by a conservation
authority. There are five conservation authorities in Northern Ontario:
Lakehead, Mattagami Region, Nickel District, North Bay-Mattawa and Sault Ste.
Marie Region. These are areas where population density is greater, there
are more competing demands for these types of water takings and there is a water
management authority in place.
Municipalities are not
affected by the moratorium, and this will not affect their ability to draw
clean, safe water for municipal use, residential consumption or emergencies such
as fire fighting. Permits for agricultural purposes are also not affected by the
The moratorium would prohibit the issuance of new or
expanding permits to take water for the following
manufacturing, including the manufacturing or production of bottled water or
water in other containers;
or vegetable canning or pickling;
ready-mix concrete manufacturing;
§ aggregate processing where the
aggregate and the water taken are incorporated into a product in the form of a
§ the manufacturing or
production of products where more than a total of 50,000 litres of the water
that is taken, is or will be incorporated into a product on any day in the
normal course of manufacturing or producing the product.
would NOT apply
§ water taken for
agricultural purposes, including aquaculture, nurseries, tree farms and sod
§ water taken for
municipal water supplies or sewage treatment
§ dewatering of pits
and quarries, and aggregate
§ renewals of
existing permits for the same volume from the same location and for the same
§ existing permits
to take water. However, the amount of water a permit holder may take will
be frozen at the current amount of water being taken. Therefore, permits that
allow for an increase for future water takings will be revoked and new permits
will be issued to implement the freeze.
Why the need for a
This moratorium on new and expanding
water-taking permits for products such as bottled water is another important
step to ensuring our sourcewater resources are soundly protected.
Currently, permits to take water do not fully consider the effects
of the water taking on the whole watershed. This moratorium is intended to
ensure this questionable practice does not continue while new rules are being
Ontario cannot continue to permit water bottlers
and others who transfer a significant amount of water out of a watershed to take
more and more water, until it fully understands the consequences of these
additional stresses on both the watershed and local water supplies.
The moratorium will provide time to review Ontario’s groundwater
supplies and draft new rules for water taking. Ontario will not grant new
permits of this kind unless and until it is certain there is enough water in the
watershed for this and future generations.
The McGuinty government
also plans to stop giving away Ontario’s water for free. In the future, Ontario
will charge water-bottling companies and other permit holders that remove water
The need for a comprehensive sourcewater
The McGuinty government is committed
to implementing all of Commissioner O’Connor’s recommendations in the Report
of the Walkerton Inquiry, Parts One and Two. As emphasized by
Commissioner O’Connor, protecting sources of drinking water is a key component
of an overall system of ensuring safe drinking water. Commissioner
O’Connor stressed that Ontario needs to ensure a comprehensive sourcewater
protection framework is in place.
The McGuinty government is
not satisfied that Ontario has the right rules and legislative framework in
place to protect our valuable water resources for future generations. The
protection of sourcewater in Ontario is currently managed through a series of
various initiatives. Presently, there is no comprehensive sourcewater protection
framework in place.
The McGuinty government is taking the
first step towards introducing a law that would enhance protection of the lands
that surround our vital water resources. The appointment of two expert
committees will help ensure we get the technical details and implementation
right, when it comes to water taking rules and protecting water at the
The McGuinty government has committed to the development
and implementation of a comprehensive sourcewater protection framework.
The moratorium marks another important step towards ensuring Ontario’s
sourcewater resources are soundly protected. It is intended to ensure
Ontario does not overstretch its water supply before the government begins
implementing such an all-encompassing protection system.
government will release a White Paper in February to consult on the planning
aspects of source protection legislation including the preparation, roles and
responsibilities and approval of source protection plans. The government’s White
Paper will also seek input on strengthening the permit to take water
program. New rules will be developed to define how water takings are to be
assessed and by what means. The new rules will establish the conditions for
lifting the moratorium on a watershed basis.