Demand an end to bottled water takings in Ontario
From Mark Calzavera Council of Canadians
This month, Ontario proposed changes to the process for issuing permits for bottled water companies that want to extract groundwater. Stronger regulations on water takings for all uses are needed, but these proposed changes will not protect groundwater from the frivolous and wasteful bottled water industry.
In Ontario, we’ve had a moratorium against new bottled water taking permits for over three years while the government has been looking into possible changes to the permitting process. The Council of Canadians has been working to make this moratorium permanent – we know there is no sustainable way to commercially extract and bottle groundwater.
Groundwater sources throughout our province are already under extreme stress from the climate crisis, population growth and over-extraction. These stresses will only get worse in the future. The bottled water industry also produces an enormous amount of plastic waste. Every year in Ontario, hundreds of millions of single use plastic water bottles end up in landfills and oceans.
We’re asking you to tell Doug Ford’s government to immediately prohibit any new permits for bottling groundwater and phase out existing permits. The government is accepting feedback on their proposed framework until Sunday, August 2, so we have to act now.
Will you add your voice to demand an end to commercial bottled water takings in Ontario?
The province claims that water takings for bottling have been sustainably managed in Ontario, based on the third-party report by BluMetric Environmental. We discovered that the report also states that municipal groundwater sources are either unsustainable or uncertain in more than half of the study regions in the future due to population growth, the climate crisis and development. We’ve written an analysis of the proposed regulations and the report which you can read on our website.
For years, community groups, Council of Canadians chapters and supporters like you have pushed for an end to new water taking permits and a phase-out of existing ones. Ultimately, the new regulatory changes Ontario is considering only offer minor changes while allowing business as usual.
Help extend moratorium on new permits to take water for bottling
From Arlene Slocombe Wellington Water Watchers July 28 2020
The Ontario government has proposed changes to the rules governing permits to take water (PTTWs) for bottling in Ontario. These proposals come four years after the moratorium on new permits imposed in 2016.
Wellington Water Watchers continue to demand that Ontario stop issuing permits to bottle water in Ontario.
Bottling water is unnecessary and therefore the lowest priority of water uses. Water is not a commodity and should not be bottled and sold. (Permits to take water for bottling can be phased out over a period of time – maximum five years – in order to allow a just transition for the workers in those industries, and for the host municipality).
The moratorium on new permits to take water for bottling should be made permanent and maintained beyond the Oct 1 planned expiry date.
The Environmental Bill of Rights requires public consultation before changes to regulations can be made. At this stage the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks is asking for public feedback on the proposed changes. The final regulations will be proposed at a later date.
The proposed changes – including requiring municipal consent for new permits to take water for bottling – are very modest – and yet they are a forced concession to years of advocacy by you and other members of communities across Ontario. The proposal that municipalities must provide consent to new applications to take water for bottling is opening the door – just a crack – to an important authority all municipalities should have.
Let’s keep pushing – and include in your submission the demand that municipalities be required to provide consent to all permits to take water applications for all commercial operations in their communities.