Water Act coming into effect for P.E.I.

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Prince Edward Island will have its Water Act in effect as of June 16.

Charlottetown, P.E.I.—Prince Edward Island’s Water Act will be coming into effect as of June 16. In support of the act, regulations have been approved which will affect well construction, sewage disposal, water supply system and wastewater treatment, and water withdrawal.

There are no significant changes to the sewage disposal systems regulations. For well construction, section three now includes provisions that allow the minister to issue a well driller’s license to an applicant that has less than 1,500 hours of drilling experience in the province. This comes with the condition that they are restricted to constructing closed-loop wells until they have acquired the full 1,500 hours for an unrestricted license. Section five describes the circumstances under which it required to acquire a well permit prior to construction a well. A well permit is required prior to drilling a series of five wells, or a total depth of 250 metres from a series of wells as part of a closed-loop geothermal system.

For the water and wastewater system regulations, the only change is the inclusion of a fee schedule that wasn’t present prior.

“Our primary interest is in protecting water through science-based decision making and research. Our agriculture industry and our watersheds have unique needs,” said Steven Myers, minister of environment, energy and climate action. “The Water Act allows us to look at things like extraction, water levels and irrigation and ensure we are making the right decisions based on the sensitivities and concerns held by specific groups and by all Islanders.”

An input period for industry stakeholders and the public ran from 2014-2017 by then minister Robert Mitchell.

During the spring sitting of the legislative assembly, the Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability and provided seven recommendations to the provincial government. According to the P.E.I. government, they are responding to each of the recommendations, including the development of a sustainable irrigation strategy.

When a complete strategy is drafted, it will be released to the public and sent to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources for input.

“A sustainable irrigation strategy will be developed taking into account that each watershed is unique and for that reason, a one size fits all approach will not work across the province,” said Myers.

For more information, please visit www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/environment-energy-and-climate-action/water-act.

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