On October 17th, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change proposed a moratorium on new or increased water-taking permits for water bottling companies (see Environmental Registry #012-8783).
The ministry says a moratorium would give it time to look at Ontario’s groundwater resources and the rules for water bottlers that take groundwater. It says this will enhance Ontario’s water security, by ensuring the wise use and management of groundwater in the face of climate change and increased population growth.
The Environmental Commissioner has reported before about the potential environmental impacts of water takings, particularly during droughts. And last year (in our 2014/2015 Annual Report), we pointed out that Ontario’s water-taking charge is too low (just $3.71 per million litres taken) to create a meaningful economic incentive to conserve water or to recover the government’s costs of managing water.
You have until December 1, 2016, to go to the Environmental Registry to have a say on the ministry’s proposed moratorium.