This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
December 18, 2019
We are proposing to amend the Ontario Regulation 463/16 to extend the current moratorium on new or increasing permits to take groundwater to produce bottled water for 9 months, ending October 1, 2020.
Moratorium on water bottling permits
The Taking Ground Water to Produce Bottled Water Regulation (Ontario Regulation 463/16) established a moratorium on water bottling permits. On December 21, 2018, the Ontario Regulation 463/16 was amended to extend the moratorium for one year, ending January 1, 2020.
The moratorium prohibits:
- new permits to take water that would authorize water bottling facilities to take groundwater
- existing water bottling facilities to take more groundwater than authorized in their existing permits
- new or amended permits that would allow a facility to take groundwater to conduct pumping tests to determine if it could use the groundwater supply as a source of water for bottled water
The moratorium does not apply to water bottling facilities that get their water from a municipal drinking water system. These facilities do not need a permit under the Ontario Water Resources Act since they do not take water directly from a ground or surface water source. Instead, the municipal drinking water system that supplies the water to the facility requires a permit.
Proposal to extend the moratorium
We are proposing to amend the Ontario Regulation 463/16 to extend the moratorium for 9 months, ending October 1, 2020. This will give the ministry time to complete its analysis of the water quantity review and to publicly consult on and finalize changes to how we manage water takings before the moratorium ends. This way, we can be confident our programs, policies and science protect vital water resources while keeping Ontario open for business.
Purpose of regulation
Drought conditions in areas of southern and eastern Ontario in 2016, projected population and economic growth and the anticipated impacts of climate change have intensified concerns about water security in Ontario, particularly among communities that depend upon groundwater. These concerns prompted us to re-examine the current approach to managing water takings in the province, including the taking of groundwater for water bottling.
The moratorium regulation was implemented in the fall of 2016 to provide an opportunity to review the existing framework for managing water takings in Ontario with a particular focus on groundwater takings by water bottling facilities.
The main goals of the review were to:
- advance our understanding of water resources in the province, including how factors such as climate change and population growth may affect the sustainability of these resources
- evaluate existing rules and policies that govern water taking, with a particular focus on groundwater takings by water bottling facilities
The ministry has completed its review of the policies, programs and science used to manage water takings in Ontario. Based on the review findings, we are considering opportunities to update the existing water taking framework to make it more resilient to managing our current and anticipated water quantity challenges.
Extending the moratorium until October 1, 2020 would give the ministry time to complete its analysis of the water quantity review and to publicly consult on and finalize changes to how we manage water takings before the moratorium ends. This way, we can be confident our programs, policies and science protect vital water resources while keeping Ontario open for business.
We are committed to protecting water resources in the province in a way that maintains the right balance between protecting our environment, while responsibly supporting a prosperous economy that creates jobs and opportunity for the people of Ontario.
Interim guidance for renewals of existing bottled water permits to take groundwater
In April 2017, we implemented the Interim Procedural and Technical Guidance Document for Bottled Water Renewals: Permit to Take Water Applications and Hydrogeological Study Requirements (Interim Guidance).
During the moratorium, existing bottled water takings can continue provided they remain at the same permitted taking or lesser amount of water, from the same location, and for the same purpose. The Interim Guidance outlines specific procedural and technical requirements for renewal applications of existing permits for water bottling.
Water bottling facilities that submit their application for renewal 90 days before its expiry can continue to operate under the terms and conditions in their expired permits until we make a decision on the application.
This Interim Guidance would continue to apply while the moratorium is in effect.
Water taking charges
As of August 1, 2017, facilities that take groundwater for bottled water and are required to have a water taking permit are charged $500 per million litres of water under Ontario Regulation 176/17. This charge is intended to help recover the Ontario government’s costs to regulate and manage groundwater takings by water bottlers. The charge applies in addition to the charge of $3.71 per million litres of water for industrial and commercial water use (under Ontario Regulation 450/07). That charge applies to facilities that incorporate water into a product, such as water bottlers and other beverage manufacturers, and ready-mix concrete manufacturers and is intended to recover costs of the province’s broader water quantity management programs.
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