Skip to content

Environment ministry asked to get tough on bottled water industry to protect vulnerable water sources

Guelph – Wellington County :  Two citizens groups, Wellington Water Watchers and the Council of Canadians have asked the Ontario Ministry of Environment  to review of its permit issuing process for the bottled water industry. The request was made yesterday under the formal review mechanism provided by the province’s Environmental Bill of Rights and challenges the Ministry to conform to its own Statement of Values. A review could lead to tougher rules for the bottled water industry in Ontario or even a phase out of their permits to take water in areas vulnerable to water shortages.

“The Ministry of the Environment needs to seriously re-evaluate its Water Taking regulation to incorporate decreasing water levels in Southern Canada and the long term effects of the bottled water industry,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson for the Council of Canadians. “Water is a common heritage and private industry should not be allowed to exploit or abuse it. We need the Ministry to step up to the plate and implement their own Environmental Values.”

The application highlights the failing of the Water Taking regulation of Ontario Water Resources Act (O. Reg. 387.04) to conform to the Ministry’s own Statement of Environmental Values. The Ministry of the Environment’s Statement of Environmental Values requires that the Ministry’s  acts, regulations and policies consider “the cumulative effects on the environment” as well as “effects of its decisions on current and future generations, consistent with sustainable development principles.”

The application notes that the Permit To Take Water process fails to consider the avoidable, long-term, cumulative health and environmental effects of the bottled water industry such as resource depletion, solid waste generation, climate change, ground water recharge and the negative impacts caused by the tanker truck traffic associated with these water withdrawals.
"Ontario is very lucky to have an Environmental Bill of Rights however we believe, the EBR process is not honouring many of the highly important Statement of Environmental Values or giving proper consideration to the public’s input,” says Mike Nagy Chair of the Wellington Water Watchers. “A thorough review of the many negative environmental and economic impacts that come from the bottled water industry should be undertaken."

The Council of Canadians is Canada’s largest social justice organization, with chapters in 70 cities including Guelph working to protect local water sources.

– 30 –