Moratorium on new water bottling works proposed

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Ontarians asked to provide input on two-year plan

Ontario is  proposing 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.

The proposed moratorium is the first of a number of steps the province will be taking to further protect Ontario’s clean water, the government said in a statement. It will apply to every water bottling facility that takes groundwater and is required to have a permit under the Ontario Water Resources Act.  Proposed rules would reduce the duration of permit renewal applications from 10 years to a maximum of five years, as well as require increased public transparency, new operating guidelines, mandatory reductions on water taking during drought and further scientific studies.

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Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, said: “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.”

Pricing policy

As part of Ontario’s ongoing efforts to protect its water resources, the government is also closely examining 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.

While the proposed moratorium is in place, Ontario also 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.
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In the face of climate change, population growth, increasing water consumption and drought, concerns around water security have risen. Ontario’s ongoing plan to protect groundwater resources is essential to the health and integrity of the province’s ecosystems and communities.

  • Ontarians can comment on the proposed two-year moratorium through the Environmental Registry until Dec. 1, 2016.
  • The proposed moratorium would take effect on the date the regulation is filed.
  • 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.
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