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Council of Canadians calls for ban on deep well irrigation in PEI

The Guardian reports, “Prince Edward Island potato growers are hoping the new year will bring them a gushing geyser of permits to begin irrigating fields this year from deep water wells. …But the idea of sucking tonnes of water out of P.E.I.’s deep water aquifer — the groundwater resource for all Islanders — has sprouted a litany of protest from citizen’s groups, political parties and environmentalists.”

“The Council of Canadians wants a legislated ban on deep well irrigation… Council of Canadians vice-chairman Leo Broderick says there is a huge danger in allowing deep well irrigation in the province. ‘Our ground water is not an infinite resource and we will suffer from long-term ground water depletion.'”

Earlier this month, Broderick told the Journal Pioneer, “Our ground water is not an infinite resource and we will suffer from long-term ground water depletion. Eventually our water table will respond causing serious environmental damage and affecting individual and municipal water supplies.”

Earth Action spokeswoman Sharon Labchuk says, “Allowing the potato industry to irrigate fields with groundwater will worsen nitrate and pesticide contamination of our highly vulnerable drinking water aquifers. It should not be allowed. …Given that potato growers are unable to prevent drinking water contamination now, they should not be given tools to worsen the problem.”

Today’s news report adds, “Solicitation for deep well irrigation support is expected to be presented to the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture at its Jan. 31 annual meeting. …(Supporters of deep well irrigation) hope the government will announce approval for permits before the spring planting season and are blunt about a P.E.I. potato industry without irrigation.”

The Council of Canadians is calling on the the government of Prince Edward Island to continue with the moratorium on deep well irrigation and to legislate a complete ban on all deep well irrigation in the province at the next sitting of the legislature.

Further reading
Broderick & Barlow raise concerns about deep well irrigation in PEI