Media Release

Ontario Moves to Protect Water and Stop Giving it Away

Dec 18 2003

CELA today welcomed Ontario Environment Minister Dombrowsky's announcement that, effective immediately, a one-year moratorium on many types of new and expanded water takings would be imposed. The moratorium will allow time for the necessary work to finalize new rules regarding water takings. CELA Counsel, Paul Muldoon noted that, "It is essential to ensure that our water takings system in Ontario is ecologically sustainable. The current system does not provide that assurance." Ontario will also finally begin imposing charges for removal of water from watersheds. In response, Theresa McClenaghan, CELA counsel stated, "CELA has been calling for levies on water takings from permit holders for years." CELA advocates use of water taking charges to help finance the data collection, monitoring, planning and implementation of source protection on a watershed basis. New rules for water takings must assist with understanding the cumulative impacts of water takings for long-term sustainability and ecosystem health.CELA looks forward to the additional public consultation announced by the Minister of the Environment during the period of the water-taking moratorium. Alongside this announcement on water-takings, the Minister also announced today two new source protection committees; to deal with implementation issues and technical issues. The work of these committees will be integral to the development of the new rules for water-takings and CELA will participate in that work.- 30 -For further information, contact:Theresa McClenaghan, CELA Counsel 416-960-2284 ext. 218Paul Muldoon, CELA Counsel 416-960-2284 ext. 219