Canadian Water and Wastewater Association eBulletin

Ontario: Environment Plan to protect lakes, waterways and groundwater supply in Ontario

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The Ontario government is taking action to protect lakes, waterways and groundwater supply in Ontario, now and for future generations. Last fall, Ontario extended the moratorium for new and increasing bottled water takings so that it could conduct a thorough review of the province’s water taking policies, programs, and science tools. This also allowed time to ask an independent third-party panel from Professional Geoscientists Ontario to review our findings on water bottling.

The independent third-party review validated the ministry’s findings that water takings for bottling are managed sustainably in Ontario under existing legislation, regulation and guidance, and we identified opportunities to build on the current framework.

The Ontario government is proposing enhancements to Ontario’s water taking program before the extended moratorium ends. The proposed regulatory changes include:

  • Requiring water bottling companies to have the support of their host municipalities for new and increasing bottled water takings, with an exemption for small businesses.
  • Establishing priorities of water use in the province that can guide water taking decisions.
  • Assessing and managing multiple water takings together in areas of the province where water sustainability is a concern.
  • Making water taking data available to the public to increase transparency of how Ontario manages water resources.

The water quantity management proposal ( is open for public comment on the Environmental Registry until August 2, 2020.