Presently , Ontario charges $3.71 per million litres of water. The newly proposed rate is is $503.71 per million litres of water..an increase of $500. This new charge is for companies who take water from ground sources and will be posted on the regulatory registery for a mandatory 60 day comment period. Charges for other water taking permits are still being reviewed.
The present $3.71 per million litres of water is on top of a fee of $750 for low to medium risk situations and $3000 for water from higher risk situations where there might be some environmental impact.
The province has also proposed new restrictions for those applying for new permits, for those with permits there are restrictions on expansion of their operation.
To understand the situation better we have to understand that Nestle has permits from their Aberfoyle operation to take 3.6 million litres of water per day and 1.1 million litres per day from nearby Erin.
For it’s part Nestle has said it is prepared to pay more for water permits , but only if all permit holders face stiffer fees. Premier Wynne makes a distinction between permits for water bottlers, and permits for those who require water for agriculture or industrial uses. In a year end interview, Premier Wynne has stated we need to look at the bottled water industry as a whole , and why do we use bottled water at all as most of us don’t need bottled water.
Critics say that charging more is not the answer as the increase in charge will just be passed along to the consumer, Wellington Water Watchers feels that no price is too high to pay for a water permits as the profits are enormous. There are also groups pushing for a total ban on permits.
British Columbia charges $2.50 per million litres and Quebec $70 per million litres.
In addition to what water bottling companies take, municipalities, mining, construction, and golf clubs take 1.4 trillion litres a day from our surface and ground water supplies.
We have been following this story for several months now and will continue to update you with breaking news on this subject. Also, something to consider would be a deposit on the plastic bottles. Ontario does not have one , but is successfully being used else where.