Our Water is an Important Public Resource
A Water Act for Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is the only province in Canada that is completely dependent on groundwater for its source of drinking water. The goal of the Water Act is to protect the quality and quantity of the Island’s water and ensure that our water supply is healthy and sustainable now and into the future.
Usually, water quality and quantity are taken for granted
– until there is a problem. The provincial government
uses a “multi-barrier” approach to protecting drinking
water from ‘the ground to the glass’, including protection
at the well, water delivery system design and operation,
and water quality monitoring and reporting. Treating
water to remove contaminants is very expensive. The best
and least expensive way to have clean water is to prevent
contamination in the first place.
Part of a new strategy for managing our water resources could be to shift to a watershed-based management approach. Local factors taken into consideration in any watershed management plan might include the competing demands for water resources. This could mean that local conditions, issues and interests, as well as local knowledge, could influence water management decisions.
Land and resource development have cumulative effects on watersheds, on stream health, and on
drinking water quality. A watershed management approach could help prevent any potential water
shortage problems from occurring and provide a response to problems that exist now.
Key legislative goals:
The protection of water is a fundamental responsibility of government, and modernizing our water laws is an important first step. Today, there is a patchwork of legislation and regulations related to water quality, quantity and management. Furthermore, there is no transparent process for decisions affecting the management of our water resources. This means the rules for water allocation can change without the public being informed. A Water Act would include a more integrated approach to decision making.