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Public Feedback III

1.I spoke briefly of the lack of data within our Env Dept or useful files of "lessons" from other "tidewater" jurisdictions such as the New Jersey Shore,Outer Banks of North Carolina,Barrier Islands of South Carolina. Population explosions and development in these delicate shoreline areas certainly have put tremendous pressure on the clean water supply. There must be some of these communities that have dealt with serious salt water intrusions as well as nitrate and chemical pollution and other problems that we might learn from and incorporate safeguards into our water act.
I do know that many towns and cities have had to centralize their water supply as well as their sewage because of contamination of their water tables. I grew up on the Virginia shoreline and observed these changes 50 years ago and contaminations of groundwater have multiplied greatly since then.  
2. Nitrates from the surface travel through saturated soils deeper towards the water table with each application. Discontinuing overuse of nitrate fertilizers will mean that this downward filtration will stop and then time can dissipate this nitrate "layer"
3. As I stated briefly below and at Montague, the Deep Water Permit holders should have been recording accurate pumping figures as a condition of their permit but,sadly, they have not done so starting back when the moratorium was put in place. The Dept responsible for the permits could have been collecting these figures these 10 years to the present day and this information could have helped your Council with accurate use figures at each and every location. The wells and watercourses in these areas could have been studied for the effects of this pumping but this did not occur much, if at all,as far as I have learned. I am heartened to hear the Minister state that his department is now collecting actual and accurate volume pumped figures. I request that your Council ask government offices to provide you with ALL of the water use data from Deep Well and Stream pumping sites  through all of the moratorium, and even from before it was in place if possible. Actual observations and data sets from as many watersheds as available will make any modeling of water supply and water use more accurate in the future.
Please carefully note the frequency and numbers of the sampling of test wells and stream flows collected by the Departments that they then use in constructing their modeling and assure yourselves that you have enough confidence in their information to make policy that will protect our water supply for 75 years, or even 7 generations.

4. I should have stated that the NFU certainly did not lobby the government to amend or "water down" recommendations put forward by the RoundTable on Land Stewardship nor did they demand private meetings to lobby government for changes after their exhaustive and important report went to the departments for implementation. However the PEI Federation of Agriculture was allowed extra meetings with officials after their members complained that they did not feel comfortable speaking their minds at public meetings AND they heartily disagreed with many of the RoundTable recommendations enough that these were dropped or weakened. I am confident that your Council would listen to anything any farmer or their representatives might want to say to you with attention and politeness and I encourage them to appear before you in public and not behind closed doors.
Thank you to the Environmental Advisory Council for coming to Montague and listening to the public comments with understanding and patience and for asking good questions too. Thank you also for your attempting to keep your hearings and information open and transparent.


Public Consolation on Proposed Water Act for PEI
Date: November 15, 2015

Value of water

“The things which have the greatest value in use have frequently little or no value in exchange;
and on the contrary, those which have the greatest value in exchange have frequently little or no
value in use. Nothing is more useful than water: but it will purchase scarce anything; scarce
anything can be had in exchange for it.”
– Adam Smith.
Submission prepared by: Leaming Murphy, Land owner, New London Bay Water Shed, PEI

Background: I am retired from Fisheries and Oceans after thirty five years of work within the
Fishing and Aquaculture Industry of PEI. My back ground and experience includes more than twenty
three years of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Programs.
From 1995 to 2007 my focus was Environmental Protection and Assessment as Area Chief, Oceans and
Habitat for PEI. Working closely with community groups on a watershed ecosystem basis, developing
strategic planning documents upon which they hope to assume a leadership role in the area of
environmental protection.
This broader roll provided an opportunity to become involved with concepts such as Ecological Risk
Assessments, Environment Assessment and Impact Statements in an effort to define the many stressors
impacting the environment as identified by the local community.
The Proposed Water Act in my understanding requires that we look at the issue from two
perspectives, one: To address the environmental and community issues of the past and, two; design a
tool that can set the stage into the future that may also correct the omissions of the past. For
example nitrates in ground water in some areas are considered high to very high. We must look at
the larger issue of nitrates in ground water, water quality in our bays and estuaries, land use and cover, from an Ecological Risk Assessment perspective. While we haveheard many complaints over and over again no one has paid enough attention to the cries. Themedia lines during any announcements on issue of water quality and water use repeat thesame politically correct message with few action items.

Farming industry and row crop in particular are always included as a source of nitrates, golf
courses, on- site septic system, cottage development etc. Seldom has any one noted the sewage
treatment plants used by our towns and cities as a contributor This is very misleading  as they are
in fact a major contributor to the loading in our estuaries. Many as well are primary treatment
facilities which have limited design capacity to extract nutrients before the water makes its way
to the bay downstream. While many municipality are making great efforts in upgrading and reduce the
nutrient load substantially entering our open water systems.
Onsite septic systems are always highlighted, most are in the rural areas of the province. This
point is always highlighted as a source when the number of people in a water shed in the rural
areas would seldom exceed one hundred people.  Researching this topic you find that in the case of
nitrates the literature states that each person will on average produce approximately
2.4 gm / kg of body weight per year . Chambers et al. Valialia, Costa, Given that this waste in
treated within a onsite septic system there is a loss of approximately 45 % the this nitrate within
the system and soil profile before it reaches the ground water table.  While I do not intend to
minimize this the proportional contribution from this source is very small.
The literature also states that one lactating dairy cow of 1000 lbs will produce 280 grams per of
nitrate /day. US Natural Resources Conservation Service, Agricultural Waste Management Field Hand
Book, Live stock waste is a significant source within many watersheds as much of the livestock
waste material is not handled properly and enforcement of the manure guild lines, Best Management
Practices is all but non-existent. Much of the value as a nutrient source is  lost due to over land
run off during weather events. The row crop industry to a large extent has over fertilized by a
factor of two in the past  and do not take into account residual nutrient from previous crops or
mineralization of organic matter. Take for example a water shed where there are 1000 acres of
potatoes reared year after year with a conversion rate for nitrates as low as 35 %, there may be
35 people living in that water shed, the impact cannot be compared.
Someone asked Winston Church Hill,” How are you today?” His response was “compared to what”?  We
are missing the point in many of these discussions, by not addressing “compared to what?

Given all of the above, the issue at hand is how are we going to move on from here? Much
time and money has been spent supporting community groups in their efforts to improve water quality
within their watershed. These people have spent a large amount of time and volunteer hours doing
what they thought was the right thing and that it had value . Only to have all their work lost
because of mud slide due to very poor soil management up slope.  The Nutrient issue is no different
we must start at the” top of the hill” as there will be very little long term value in suggesting
that the solutions can be found anywhere but from " the top of the hill" and by
managing inputs with known technologies.

A significant issue with many of our estuaries is the very long retention time the waters are held
in our long and shallow river systems. A Modeling Report carried out on the Mill River System
Martec Report 2001, identifies some areas in this system have retention times in the eighty to
ninety day range. Coastal Oceans and Associates have carried out some modeling studies in the New
London Bay, while somewhat lower retention times are still in the range of forty to sixty days.
These values serve to illustrate to us that any over load entering these systems will be provided
an opportunity for several generation of algae( Some species have regeneration time in hours ) and
other organisms to flourish, die and decompose and mineralize adding to the continuous loading from
non point sources within the water shed.
The Geomorphology of our water sheds and estuaries is something we can do nothing about and will
have to design remedial actions based on this constraint. This is an example of where we must apply
a Risk Assessment Process to understand the major stressors and their sources before it is likely
any one can be successful at remedial actions. This is a process where  Sources, Stressors, Fate
and Effects and End points can be assessed and under stood. There are many examples of Risk
Assessments carried out by the US EPA for example Buzzards Bay, Chesapeake Bay, Big Darby Creek,
these assessment can provide a great deal of information to our situation on PEI and could provide
a model for us to better understand and respond to the specific needs within a water shed. A paper
by J. E. Costa et al 1999 entitled ‘Managing anthropogenic nitrogen inputs to coastal embayment's,”
suggest an Ecosystem Classification System be applied to a water shed to take into account the
inputs and impacts of the many stressors.

“Fate and Effect” are two considerations that are not well assessed before many of our policies
and development programs are launched and delivered. For example recently both levels of government
have supported the PEI Soil and Crop Association with a demonstration project to treat soil
compaction within the row crop industry. The recommended treatment by this project was to use a
very large harrow that would reach well into the soil profile to the hard pan and break it up allow
for better drainage and increase the aggregate size in the soil profile. The hard pan is in fact
the very thing we need to protect in order to reduce the loss of nitrates down through the soil
profile and into the water table below.  There are many examples like this that in fact are adding
to the problem not resolving the larger issue of water quality.
There some realities that we must face and the wide spread use and abuse of inorganic nitrates is
one of them. The authors of “ Cleans Coastal Waters”, copy right 2000 states “The effect of human
activity on the global cycling of Nitrogen is immense, and the rate of change in the pattern of use
is extremely rapid. The single largest change in the nitrogen cycle comes from an increased
reliance on synthetic fertilizer, which was invented during World War I and came into wide spread use 
in the late 1950s. Inorganic fertilizers account for more than half of the human alteration of the nitrogen cycle and approximately half of the inorganic fertilizer used has been used on the planet in the past 15 years.
One consideration that is often not discussed on this topic in the impact reduced water quality
will have on property values throughout the province but in particular shore line property values.
There is literature on this issue it is based on inland lakes but it serves to illustrate the
point. As the community came to realize the route we are on now will lead to decreased value of all
properties inland and shore line lowering the tax base. The loss of recreational properties and
land values for many of the tourist facilities that are now struggling to survive and will
significantly reduce the attractiveness of Prince Edward Island as a tourist destination.

The larger community will no longer accept politically the fact land taxation assessments
continue to increase while the water quality in front of them deteriorates. Papers prepared by
Holly Micheals et al and Kevin Boyles et al, indicate that the values of shore front properties are
tied to water clarity, Water clarity being a description of primary productivity. The research
finds that land values can vary from $11.00 to over $200.00 per linear foot of shore front per
meter difference in water clarity using, (Sechi Disk). There was a great deal of data used in
determining the values in this report. If we apply this value to the several thousands of shore
front properties developed and undeveloped along our shore line this will have a significantly
In summary the people of the province PEI and their way of life is going to change in a negative
way in the very near future if this issue of water quality is not addressed. We will no longer be
able enjoy the bounty of our province nor will we be able to attract others to it if we continue on
our existing path. Ground water quality is very important to the fabric of our province.
The Water Act and its Regulations are expected by many to be the answer to their prayers, the
expectations are high by special interest groups in particular.
We must use some of the following initiatives to understand and educate the community at large on
the limits and the assimilative capacity that our natural resources can be expected to

We must conduct Ecological Risk Assessments on representative watersheds and identify the
stressors and their relative impacts. Followed by identification of remedial actions to deduce
impacts, we have gone too far now in some areas to expect immediate responses to any recovery plan,
it will take years for some of the stressors to move through the system.

•   Water shed planning and its assimilative capacity must be quantified.
•   Residential development must be limited to those areas where the assimilative
capacity exists. That includes designing systems where water infiltration can occur. Paved roads
large parking lots with drainage systems designed to funnel water to the nearest open water system
within minutes of its falling with no chance to recharge the water table.
•   The farming industry must undergo a major change in its management planning and production
expectations. The industry must recognize nitrogen in its many forms is a pollutant.
•   Nutrient Management Planning must be implemented. Including a accountability program that will
hold the producer to account. We are dealing with a hazardous product or substance that has an
impact on off - site resources. All other industries on the modern world where there is a by -
product leaving the site must have some remedial actions attached.
•   Best management Practices have some value but no accountability, this must change. Organic and
inorganic inputs applied to a rearing area that is not soil managed, nutrient managed and slope
restriction will need to be enforced and licensed. This may involve lower density of certain corps
in some water sheds for example.
•    The industry must take some responsibility for their actions and record these activities and
must be available to an audit process. The processing industry is accountable to their regulator
and clients in the area of food safety and monitor criteria at critical points in order to ensure
compliance with a regulation or practice. For example; applying nitrogen to a crop when the risk is
high of leaching loss to the local environment, in manner and rate in excess of the crop needs.
This would be noted and corrected through an audit process.

The Ecological Risk Assessment Process can identify sources and will create a list of
activities with the highest risk. Once these are identified apply remedial actions on a least cost
first basis. This may not always mean the worse first, but by taking the least cost first the
community may be able to see some benefit and will be prepared to respond and adopt further
Changes to the coastal ecosystem took years (decades) to get to the situation we are now in. It
will take years to get back. This is a very important massage to relay to the public and in
particular the active community groups to ensure they remain interested in the long term value of
their work and not become disengaged because they see few improvements.
The Water Act and it many regulations must not be a vehicle to down load responsibilities to the
community groups. Divesting this authority to these Watershed Groups will accomplish nothing as
they lack for the most part the expertise to understand the scope and consequences
of their decisions. Inconsistencies form one watershed to another will create confusion and
hardship on the residential and industrial interests with the watershed.  Given this Water Shed
Groups play a very important role in the communities they must not be placed in an enforcement and
compliance role, this will spell the end of the concept.
Water Extraction: this is the issue that has driven the concept of a Water Act for PEI. This is
tall order as the public are more interested in making it an opportunity to stop the expansion high
volume / deep water wells once and for all. This must not happen. towns and cities depend on these
resources for the growth and development of their communities We cannot make exceptions for those
interests at the expense of industrial interests including irrigation.
The city of Charlottetown reports a figure of 306 liters / Person / day, the Provincial Environment
Department claims that value to be less than 200 lpd on a province wide basis. The city of
Charlottetown's numbers are very high and waste full while the Winter River goes dry every year.  
The Water Act must set some mechanism in place to reduce the demand for water resources by large consumers like this. The following conditions must apply:

•    Water meters on all outlets from a public utilities and consumption paid for on / liter
basis. No Exceptions
•   Provide leadership to the community through education in ways to reduce water use.
•   Building Permits issued by any authority must specify the maximum flow rates for all fixtures
within the proposed building. Enforcement through inspections and audits. This would apply to
hotels and residential homes and business.
•    Planning and Review Boards must impose restrictions on all new and upgrades to all
buildings and structures to insure drainage systems have "Detention and Retention" capacities built
in to any construction project. This includes residential buildings and subdivisions, ie. dry wells
draining roofs and drive ways.  This will increase recharge and reduce the risk of recreating
Winter River situation.

We must be care full not to build expectations into this imitative like the buffer zone legislation
did to large degree. Fifteen meter Buffer Zones solves very little given the very large row crop
industry on PEI,  if we do not apply Soil Management Techniques up slope.
In the early 1990's T. l. Chow, Herb Reese, and J.L. Daigle conducted a study on the Effectiveness
of Terraces/ Grassed Waterway System for Soil and Water Conservation: A field Evaluation where they
monitored all the water applied to two plots of land, 9 acres and 16 acres over a five year period.
A 16 acre plot was soil managed with terraces and grassed water ways. The smaller plot 9 acres was
farmed over the study period with potatoes reared up and down slope. The plots were in the same
general area with both having an average slope of approximately 5.5 %. Potatoes were reared in the
study area three years in five. ( Grain 1990, potatoes 1991, potatoes 1992, Grain 1993 and potatoes 1994 ) The average rain fall over the five years was 650.5 mm, the soil loss from the soil managed rearing area was reduced to  1.7 ton / acre while the up and down slope lost 20.7 tons / acre.  A second consideration was the difference in moisture retained in the soil managed area was 150 mm over the up and down slope rearing area. This is significant and equivalent to 6 inches of moisture that would not have to added to the crop to realize the same yield and quality.
This information is not well communicated to the agricultural industry but clearly is would reduce
the demand for irrigation waters from deep water wells that is now on the table and to a large
extent the reason for the Water Act discussions.
It is the view of the author that any further consideration on the high volume irrigation wells we
must consider that several conditions be applied to any license or permit issued in this area.
The following conditions must be included and commitment to enforced them before any
permit are issued:

•   That any lands to be serviced by a  "Water Withdrawal or Extraction Permit" must have
demonstrate and maintain compliance with a full Three year Crop Rotation not 2 in 5 a full three
crop rotation on all lands receiving irrigation waters from surface and ground water sources.
•   That any lands to be serviced by a  "Water Withdrawal or Extraction Permit must be soil
managed, designed by qualified Soil Management Specialist prior to any water extraction.
•   That any lands to be serviced by a  "Water Withdrawal or Extraction Permit must
be treated using "Dammer Dyker" technologies during the potato production cycle.
•    Establish a clear monitoring protocol for all those receiving permits, regarding volume of
water drawn, date, time etc.
•    The Issuing Authority must design and enforce an audit protocol to monitor all
water withdrawl permits.  No Exceptions or exclusions
•   Draft the Water Act to provide for Condition of License with clear compliance requirements
•    Failure to meet any or all to Conditions of License will result in cancellation of License for
the season or some number of years.
•    Some or all of the above Condition of License must apply to all permit holders Agricultural,
Industrial, Public Utilities and all Municipalities

Prince Edward Island has enjoyed an abundance of surface and ground water resources and we
must adjust our expectations to the new reality the landscape and ground cover has changed over the
past decades. This has changed the water cycle on PEI so we must account for that as we plan for
future demands.
At this same time we on PEI have enjoyed a great bounty of shellfish from our bays and estuaries.
The mussel industry for example has grown where in 1981, 108 thousand pounds of mussels were sold
commercially  to 2015 the annual sales are now in the order of 55 million. In fact PEI supplies 80
% of the fresh cultured mussels sold in North America.
PEI enjoyed this "growth and development in the shell fish industry because we have an agriculture
industry not in spite of it".
There is no doubt we have some of the most productive bays and
estuaries in Eastern North America. We must create a balance with in the ecosystems we are
exploiting,. We are presently out of balance, we must use this opportunity to  develop  a Water Act
to move the dial towards this balance.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide input. 


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