June 18, 2014
For immediate release
Province will introduce a water act
Environment, Labour and Justice
“The implementation of a water act will demonstrate government’s commitment to managing water resources in a sustainable manner for present and future generations,” said Minister Sherry. “There will be broad consultations with Islanders and experts in the development of the new act.”
The proposed water act will create new legislation for areas such as groundwater allocation, discharges into fresh and marine water environments, and mandate targets for water quality. At present, there are various pieces of legislation, regulations and policies in place, but no comprehensive set of water policies embodied in one piece of legislation. The new water act will address that need.
The development of a water act was one of the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Environment, Energy and Forestry following its consultations earlier this year on high capacity wells for agriculture irrigation purposes.
Minister Sherry said that the act will address a wide range of matters related to the supply and quality of water, including drinking and waste water facilities, conservation and watercourse and wetland protection. She said that no consideration will be given to lifting the moratorium on high capacity wells for agriculture irrigation purposes until the water act and regulations are in place.
As part of the process for developing the water act, a white paper will be released, public consultations will be carried out by an arms-length group and a review of legislation in other jurisdictions will be undertaken. The work will begin immediately.
“Islanders have told us very clearly that they attach the utmost importance to the protection of our water and we have listened to what they are telling us,” said Minister Sherry.