What new water bottling proposal by province means to municipalities
KITCHENER -- The Ontario government wants to give municipalities more power to control the flow going to water bottling companies.
“We do think there are some really positive things in the proposed regulation changes,” said Robert Case of Wellington Water Watchers.
The chair for the board of directors at the WWW adds that the reasons why municipalities can veto permits for bottling companies needs to be better defined.
“We need to try to pry that open during this public consultation period and pus the government a bit further,” said Case.
The province hired a third party to review their policies, programs, and science tools for managing water takings in Ontario.
The review found taking water for bottling is not impacting the sustainability of groundwater resources or groundwater supply.
From this, four action items have been proposed:
Establish priorities of water use
Update the approach to managing water takings in water quantity-stressed areas
Make water taking data publically accessible
Give municipalities more input into the decisions
Some of these changes were called for by Guelph MPP and Green Party leader Mike Schreiner.
“Obviously, public access to drinking water should be the top priority,” he said. “We need to protect our groundwater from all industrial activities, whether it’s water bottling activities, pits, or quarries.”
In a statement, Nestle Water Canada says the proposal helps move everyone towards greater regulatory certainty.
“The emphasis on science and transparency is welcome – as is the observation that bottled water is having no impact on the sustainability of the province’s water resources,” the statement reads.
The Water Watchers thinks there is a more direct step that can be taken by the province.
“We think that Ontario should be taking action right now to start phasing out permits to take water for commercial bottling, period,” said Case.
Wellington Water Watchers are urging Ontarians to review the proposal before the comment period closes at midnight on Aug. 2.