Under the proposal, the moratorium would end on Oct. 1, 2020.
As outlined on the Environmental Registry of Ontario website, the Taking Ground Water to Produce Bottled Water Regulation (Ont. Reg. 463/16) established a moratorium on water-bottling permits. On Dec. 21, 2018, Ont. Reg. 463/16 was amended to extend the moratorium for one year, ending Jan. 1, 2020.
The moratorium prohibits:
- new permits to take water that would authorize water-bottling facilities to take ground water
- existing water-bottling facilities to take 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 groundwater supply as a source of water for bottled water
“Through our draft environment plan, we committed to thoroughly reviewing the province’s water taking policies, programs, and science tools to ensure that vital water resources are adequately protected and sustainably used, said Andrew Buttigieg, press secretary for Minister of the Environment Jeff Yurek.
“Over the past year, the ministry has reviewed, and continues to review, the state of water resources in key areas of Ontario and the effect water takings have on these resources. This includes reviewing water quantity-related policies and programs as they apply to water takers across the province, including water bottlers taking ground water, as well as enhancing our understanding of how we can manage water takings to ensure we have sustainable water resources in the face of changing climate and continued population growth.
Providing the public added certainty before the moratorium ends is important, so we are proposing to extend the moratorium on new or increasing water takings from ground water sources by water-bottling facilities for nine months.
“The people of Ontario want confidence that the quantity and quality of water resources are protected, now and into the future by good policy that is based on solid science and evidence. This is why we are also going to look to have the science and data reviewed and verified by a third-party.
“During the extended moratorium, we will continue to engage with the public, stakeholders and Indigenous communities for input on how we manage provincial water taking to ensure the safety of secure, reliable sources of water.”
Members of the public are invited to comment on the proposal until 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 18, 2019.