Amid recent concerns from the public on bottled water operations, the Ontario Liberals have proposed imposed a two year moratorium on water taking permits.
Recent outrage from communities like Aberfoyle, Ontario and Hope, B.C., have caught the attention of both provincial governments in relation to operations that take millions of litres of Canadian groundwater each day to bottle and sell.
Ontario posted proposed regulation on Monday that would impose a hold on permits for two years, in addition to stricter rules on renewals for existing permits.
The proposed moratorium marks the first steps the Liberals are taking to protect Ontario’s clean water.
Every facility that has a permit under the Ontario Water Resources Act would see their renewal applications limited to five years instead of every 10 years, as well as they would face increased public transparency rules, new operations guidelines, mandatory reductions during periods of drought and be subject to further scientific studies.
Further efforts from the province will also examine pricing. At present, Ontario charges companies just $3.71 for every million litres of water, after they pay a permit fee of $750 for low- or medium-risk water takings, or $3,000 for those considered a high risk to cause an adverse environmental impact.
Ontario plans to initiate a study while the moratorium is in place, it includes research to improve understanding of groundwater, a review of existing rules for adequate protection of groundwater, and public input on the province’s ground water permit process.