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HOME / WATER ACT CONSULTATIONS: STEP 1 /


Public Feedback

Views on the proposed Act are personal information and are being collected under section 31(c) of Prince Edward Island's Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy (FOIPP) Act for the purpose of engaging the public as part of developing legislation. The Department will publish opinions and/or viewpoints it receives on our website and/or re-print in public documents. We will not disclose the names of people making these submissions. Please feel free to submit comments online.

Comments Received:


1. From a visionary sustainable point of view, (organic agriculture is water friendly and chemical/poison/contamination-safe)
 
Any reference to present, unsustainable PEI economics has to removed from the very earliest preamble on that website and from from the core request for this Act. The present call for a PEI Water Act is actual a consequence of exactly the present unsustainable industrial agricultural model, where unnatural pesticides and chemicals are added to land, soak into and contaminate the aquifer, the Island’s only water source, combined with this industry’s request to draw water from deep wells, merely for profits, under the jurisdiction of a provincial government who is presently embarrassingly unknowledgeable on the subject, and persistently reluctant to listen to the warnings and concerns of scientists and outspoken Islanders alike.
 
2. Important first and foremost is an unconditional conservation of:
- aquifer water quantity 
- measuring and publishing present contamination of drinking water and water bodies
- desired standard of aquifer (uncontaminated drinking) water quality, wildlife water quality 
- mandatory regular drinking water, wildlife water quality testing and publishing 
- purification measures from present contaminated drinking water and estuaries to uncontaminated water quality
 

3. The Water Act requires a peer-reviewed scientific explanation (free of reference to unsustainable industry) on
- aquifer water source and safeguarding from contamination 
- the detrimental irreversible effects of contamination on our single aquifer source 
- safe and guaranteed water supply for for drinking and environment (not for unsustainable industry models)
- limited drinking water supply and management
- rainwater collection and management, for flushing, lawns, laundering, cleaning, and for industry.
- grey water supply and management, for households, flushing, etc. 
- a vision of water consumption (grey water plumbing as part of the Building Code) needs to be included and mentioned.
 
4. Considerations going into the creation of the Water Act, as a sustainability measure, needs to be free of any condition other than:
- that water is life sustaining for residents, 
- that it is kept in safe abundance for drinking and wildlife, 
- that is being safeguarded from any unnatural contamination, 
- that it is specifically free of present PEI economy conditions, which we know are not sustainable 
 
5. After the Act has become law to protect residents and wildlife, sustainable industries can apply for available excess waters, provided that their process will not contaminate the aquifer source or estuaries. Industry must realize:
- that water is not a commodity to be freely used by unsustainable industry 
- that excess available water can be purchased by sustainable industry in one-time quantities 
- that industry effluent waters must be continually recycled and re-used. 
- Industries are encouraged to rely on and use their own collected rain water for make-up water.
- that all contaminating, unnatural chemicals used by industry have to be safely contained and are prohibited from being dumped, spread or placed where they can illegally seep down into the aquifer.

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One of the issues that has caused us concern is the cost of the water testing which has increased dramatically over the past few years. We feel that this has stopped many Islanders from doing the bacteria and nitrate test on a regular basis and this can cause serious consequences. The water crisis causing many deaths in Walkerton, Ontario is an example as to how serious this can be..

With the tons of pesticides being used on the agricultural land here, it should be a free service every 5 years to allow residents in rural areas to have access to these tests. We only have to look at the high rates of cancer on the Island to know that we need to look at this seriously. It now costs $85.00 plus HST to have this test done and many cannot afford this. For something as important as our health and the effects of poor water it should be a free or low cost to ensure that the majority of people are able to take advantage of the testing. The health costs down the road can be significant to treat residents who fall ill because of the lack of testing. Some services do have to be subsidized but the cost in the long run can actually save funds if it prevents illness or loss of life. Residents who live in the cities or towns have the advantage of having this provided free and seems unfair to the residents of rural PEI.

We do also need to look at what is being put on our lands and looking at alternative ways to cut back on the massive amounts of chemicals that are polluting our Island and our people.

Thank you for providing this platform for input as this is something that has been worrying us for quite a while.

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What do you believe are the threats to Prince Edward Island's water resources?
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Groups wanting deep water wells for potato growing.  Business wanting to do fracking for natural gas.  People washing cars trucks and recreational vehicles. pesticides which continue to cause fish kills.

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Should there be mandatory monitoring of volumes of water being used by all municipal, commercial and industrial water systems?  
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yes.

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Should heavy water users be required to pay?
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yes.

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How can government best reduce red tape while continuing to protect our water resources and the environment?
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Red tape should be removed if it speeds up responses to protecting water resources.  Red tape should be increased if parties want to remove protections put in place to safe guard our water.

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Beyond legislation, are there other approaches or solutions that can be taken to better manage water resources? 
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City planning especially for Charlottetown and Stratford to ensure their is enough water to meet the needs of the population.

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Should province manage water on watershed by watershed bases? 
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what is your definition of watershed?

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The threats are big companies being giving the rights to use more water for to help their production in foods, big cities taking the water for granted thinking they can strip our watersheds to help with low water levels , instead of being made to watch their own water levels and using it sparingly .The public are the ones that have to suffer from this with being monitored on how much water is used while the industries, etc. are the exception to the rule because they need it for their business. Park and the like using water to wash feet from coming off the beaches and the taps mostly being left running and not being shut off or fixed. Green houses not using water properly but watering fruit, flowers etc. daily and then having hoses left running or leaking.

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Should there be mandatory monitoring of volumes of water being used by all municipal, commercial and industrial water systems?  
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I think that its not fair to have municipality systems be placed along side of commercial and industrial . If doing the job properly one should realize that most of the water is used more by the commercial and industrial industries. So again, they shouldn't be in the same category. I wish that until municipalities start to show signs of using the same amount of water as the industries then start to have a mandatory monitor system on them too.

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Should heavy water users be required to pay?
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Yes they should have to pay, our water here on PEI is the most precious thing we have and most valuable on this planet. Just picture us having to truck bottled water here all the time, or better yet trucking it from some other province and us having to pay for it. Come on you guys!!! Think. Fine people who abuse our water ways, and make them pay big time that they will think twice before they ruin the water again, big joke with the farmers that keep poisoning our water and then getting away with it over and over again, please make sure that there is a better law in place to protect our waters.

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How can government best reduce red tape while continuing to protect our water resources and the environment?
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Part of the problem is trying to make everyone pay for the water to save red tape. Make the big companies like the commercial and industrial foot the bill for some of that red tape. Better yet check all water ways etc. to see if you need to even make it mandatory at all. That would save red tape wouldn't it. I think the thinking is that it has to be done all over the Island and it may just be a few locations that really need the monitoring. In fact I think you know exactly where you need to start.

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Beyond legislation, are there other approaches or solutions that can be taken to better manage water resources? 
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Yes, I think that hospitals, industries, and commercial should be looked at first, not the whole city or towns, and there should be a cap on the tons of gallons used, and then if they are needing more, if the watersheds are high that year then allow a certain amount over what they use. They shouldn't be privilege just because of who they are and that's where we go wrong about our water. I don't think that the public should have to watch how much water they use until the larger companies are dealt with first. I believe that if they watch what they are using and monitored its not us people that are wasting all the water.

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Should the province manage water resources on a watershed by watershed basis? 
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Yes, this is what I think has to happen first, its the only way you will find out the most problem areas, but I am sure you know this already. Small towns or cites should not have to be the ones carrying the bigger ones that use more water. That is why each and every place should be studied to know who uses the most water and have a cap on it and make them pay. This is way we are in this situation in the first place, and I think everyone knows this. By looking at the large companies, etc. getting the gallons they use as a starting point, then see if the whole city should have be monitored. Its cruel to make everyone pay for big business not doing their part and feeling they are allowed to because they employ people. 


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What do you believe are the threats to Prince Edward Island's water resources?
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the need to protect our supply of clean drinking water for all from any and all contaminants that are slowly filtering into our supply. the high incidence of various illnesses such as cancer are becoming more frequent and we need to be proactive in protecting our source of this valuable commodity...

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Should there be mandatory monitoring of volumes of water being used by all municipal, commercial and industrial water systems?  
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I believe that everybody should pay usage fees so as not to deplete this resource...there are some who do not know how to turn off the supply and waste enormous amounts of water in the process...

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Should heavy water users be required to pay?
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absolutely...

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How can government best reduce red tape while continuing to protect our water resources and the environment?
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we need to vastly improve our ability to allow those responsible to do their jobs properly and hold them accountable for their actions or lack of actions...too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth...

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Beyond legislation, are there other approaches or solutions that can be taken to better manage water resources? 
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user pay where applicable...

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Should the province manage water resources on a watershed by watershed basis? 
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we need to have strong legislation that takes into account the different areas and their individual uniqueness...a very good cohesive act that all users can participate in implementing...as with any other attempt at introducing change you will not be able to please everyone but I believe we have the ability to be fair to everyone...

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What do you believe are the threats to Prince Edward Island's water resources?
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When we speak of water as a 'resource' meaning something the government can use to increase it's wealth, then we are already creating a threat at the policy level. Water is something that should be guarded and secured for generations to come, not harnessed for profit. Two threats to our water that are already upon us are industrial potato production and fracking. Our industrial potato industry is trying to compete with warmer climates that have access to higher levels of rain partly because they are decided on producing a type of potato that is not fully suited to our environment. Fracking if allowed beyond what has already happened (exploration) will use our water as a carrier for some of the most foul chemical waste that we will ever come across. That waste will have no end solution, it is not like garbage that can be incinerated, it can't be treated, it is simply a chemical soup that will have to be dumped, working its way back into the water system, or let go out to see,
 damaging water systems and the life it supports. Let's reframe water not as a resource or a commodity but as a legacy to be protected.

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Should there be mandatory monitoring of volumes of water being used by all municipal, commercial and industrial water systems?  
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Yes of course! But not only that, the public should be privy to what industry or group is using water, when and how much. This is transparency, and it is badly needed on PEI.

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Should heavy water users be required to pay?
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They should be required to pay into a fund that is going to develop better water plans, ways to protect water, how to see that water that can be captured and returned back into the water system, rather than let go out into the see, does just that. This shouldn't just be a tax grab, but put to developing more advanced water systems. PEI needs a new way of processing water.

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How can government best reduce red tape while continuing to protect our water resources and the environment?
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Stop calling water a resource for a start, then the red tape that is associated with using water as a commodity will be lessened.

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Beyond legislation, are there other approaches or solutions that can be taken to better manage water resources? 
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Again, reframe the discussion of water not as a resource to be harvested.

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Should the province manage water resources on a watershed by watershed basis? 
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This province is not so large that that our provincial government can't  have a vision that is province wide. We do need to bring all groups together in a dialogue, make use of the people who understand the water systems, some of these people have already been speaking out about the protection of our water ... use them! Rely on them. They can advise. 

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What do you believe are the threats to Prince Edward Island's water resources?

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Pesticides,fungacides and fertilizers.
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Should there be mandatory monitoring of volumes of water being used by all municipal, commercial and industrial water systems?  
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YES

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Should heavy water users be required to pay?
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YES

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What do you believe are the threats to Prince Edward Island's water resources?
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I believe the biggest threat to our water is industrial farming with minimal buffer zones to stop runoff and minimal enforcement of the buffer zones we do have. There is also minimal assistance for farmers who wish to use alternate practices to conventional farming that would require less watering of crops.

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Should there be mandatory monitoring of volumes of water being used by all municipal, commercial and industrial water systems?  
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Not sure.

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Should heavy water users be required to pay?
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Yes.

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How can government best reduce red tape while continuing to protect our water resources and the environment?
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They shouldn't.

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Beyond legislation, are there other approaches or solutions that can be taken to better manage water resources? 
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There needs to be serious incentives to help farmers use alternate methods of farming so they build soil. The substrate they now plant in is mostly dead and does not hold water. It erodes into our water ways much too easily and the tiny bit of topsoil that is there gets blown away in the winter. Taking care of our water includes taking care of our soil. They go hand in hand and should not be considered separate. Healthy land means healthy water.

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Should the province manage water resources on a watershed by watershed basis? 
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Not sure.

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Should there be mandatory monitoring of volumes of water being used by all municipal, commercial and industrial water systems?
  
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Yes. To track changes of water consumption and then this data can be used with indicators of water unavailability to detect any issues, that the province should take action against.
Have heavy regulations, define sustainable level of water use, information that should be accessible to public domain, use monitoring to pinpoint “leaky” infrastructure and focus upgrades and repairs to these regions
Also, there needs to be an Insurance or accountability measures, to ensure if problems occur there is money to fix, Like OHS to a food business but for heavy water consumption.
All new construction should require low flow toilets and shower heads
Expand toilet rebate program to include use of low flow appliances, province wide

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Should heavy water users be required to pay?
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#1.  Graduated fee scales should be used to promote conservation, using data from water meters
#2.  NAFTA implications for commercial users
#3. Not to pay for residential, heavier restrictions on heavy water users, water management plans for heavy users. Industrial users should all be metered in real-time.


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How can government best reduce red tape while continuing to protect our water resources and the environment?
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We don’t want to take a “too little, too late” approach, because we won’t know there is a major problem until it happens and we see or, and/or the impact is felt. Should communities (municipalities) have the right to be involved in development permits pertaining to groundwater usage, or require potential water users to go to communities for permission? (yes they should)
Monitoring of new wellfield development should be community-based, with involvement of local watershed groups. Having red tape for events that could cause negative impact is smart, and Have a ground water management section in the province, governed by one dept instead of many, simplify regulations regardless of zone restrictions.


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Beyond legislation, are there other approaches or solutions that can be taken to better manage water resources? 
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Encourage best management practices through valuable incentive programs, make visible (to public) those practices that are not conservation friendly and hold users accountable
i.e water shortage posed by industries consumption. The law would say they agreed to find a way to use less or be shutdown
Charging industries for water consumption based on previous events that posed risk (i.e searches, contamination)
Mandatory metering of large users


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Should the province manage water resources on a watershed by watershed basis? 
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#1. Every watershed is unique, one size doesn’t fit all, so water plans need to be tailor-made by the province in each situation in consultation with the community and the local watershed group.
#2. No, if there is no problems with groundwater availability in that region of the Island, but managing should NOT take a blanket approach to regions that do have groundwater availability issues or could have them in the future. Start with monitoring/data collection of higher risk watersheds being used for water supply in our province.
#3. They should be managed on a watershed by watershed basis. Watersheds with similar land use and population densities could be managed with similar management plans/best practices. But there needs to be accountability. 

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What do you believe are the threats to Prince Edward Island's water resources?
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Irrigating potato crops

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Should there be mandatory monitoring of volumes of water being used by all municipal, commercial and industrial water systems?  
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yes

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Should heavy water users be required to pay?
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Yes

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How can government best reduce red tape while continuing to protect our water resources and the environment?
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By having regulations and enforcing them

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Beyond legislation, are there other approaches or solutions that can be taken to better manage water resources? 
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Public education

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Should the province manage water resources on a watershed by watershed basis? 
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Same regulations on all but managed watershed by watershed

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