Ontario may extend pause on bottled water permits

Ground Water Canada
November 06, 2018
By Ground Water Canada
Toronto – The Ontario government is proposing to extend its moratorium on new or increasing permits to take ground water to produce bottled water for up to one year, to Jan. 1, 2020.

On Dec. 16, 2016, the Taking Ground Water To Produce Bottled Water Regulation (Ontario Regulation 463/16) was made, which established a moratorium on water bottling permits until January 1, 2019.

According to the Environmental Registry of Ontario website, the current moratorium prohibits new permits to take water that would authorize water bottling facilities to take ground water; existing water bottling facilities taking more ground water than authorized in their existing permits; new or amended permits that would allow a facility to take ground water to conduct pumping tests to determine if it could use the ground water supply as a source of water for bottled water

It does not apply to water-bottling facilities that get their water from a municipal drinking water system. These facilities do not need a permit under the Ontario Water Resources Act since they do not take water directly from a ground or surface water source. Instead, the municipal drinking water system that supplies the water to the facility requires a permit.

Ontario is proposing to amend Ontario Regulation 463/16 to extend the moratorium for one year, until January 1, 2020. This will give us time to further advance the ministry's understanding of the water resources in the province, with a particular focus on ground water takings by water bottling facilities, the website says.

The province says it is concerned about water security in light of drought conditions, projected population and economic growth and the anticipated impacts of climate change.

The goals of the ongoing review are to advance understanding of water resources in the province, including how stresses like climate change and population growth may affect the sustainability of these resources, and evaluate existing rules and policies that govern water taking, with a particular focus on ground water takings by water bottling facilities.

The province’s water quantity policy, program and science review will be reviewed over 2019 and the results of the review.

Ontarians may comment on the proposal or access the one-question survey here.

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