Toronto, Ont. – Today’s announcement that Ontario will increase water-taking fees for water bottlers is good news. The current fee of $3.71 per million litres is far too low, and has meant that Ontario only recovers a fraction of the costs associated with monitoring and managing Ontario’s groundwater.
At $503.71 for a million litres of water, the new fee will be the highest water-taking fee in Canada, and will ensure that Ontario can invest in the science and monitoring needed to safeguard the province’s groundwater.
However, more still needs to be done to address the issues that come with bottled water. In all but a few cases, bottled water is unnecessary in Ontario. This province has some of the cleanest and safest tap water in the world.
Ontario has already placed a moratorium on new and expanded permits for water bottling. The next step is to create a framework that ensures communities’ access to clean drinking water is protected, and that the province gives priority to beneficial uses like agriculture over consumptive and unnecessary uses like water bottling.
Finally, the province needs to deal with the plastic bottles themselves. A recent study found that more than 10,000 metric tonnes of plastic end up in the Great Lakes every year. One significant source of this pollution is single-use plastic bottles. In Ontario, over a billion bottles end up in landfills or littered in the environment annually. The province can address this by putting a deposit on plastic bottles similar to what we have for beer and liquor bottles.
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