Ontario plans to extend its moratorium on new or expanded water bottling permits until October 1, 2020. The moratorium is scheduled to end on January 1, 2020.
The former government imposed a two-year moratorium late in 2016 after the controversial acquisition of a well by Nestlé Waters in Centre Wellington, near Guelph. The moratorium was later extended for another year.
The moratorium applies to new water bottling permits that draw groundwater, existing water bottling permits that would draw more groundwater than authorized in the existing permits, and new or amended permits that would allow testing of groundwater to determine its potential as a source for bottling.
According to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, the moratorium extension will give it time to complete its analysis of the data it has gathered and consult with the public on changes to the management of water taking permits.
The company at the centre of the controversy in 2016 has welcomed the news.
“We have always agreed that new water bottling permits should be issued only when the science demonstrates a clear commitment to the health and sustainability of watersheds,” said Adam Graves, president of Nestlé Waters Canada, in a statement. “We will work closely with our industry partners and Ministry officials, regulators and stakeholders to ensure that all appropriate standards are not only met but surpassed.”
The proposal to extend the moratorium has been posted on the Environmental Registry of Ontario for comment until December 18, 2019.