Undercurrents: beneath the obvious

April 3, 2007

Ontario to tax water bottlers

The Toronto Star carries this story on the Province’s plan to charge companies that bottle large amounts of water taken from the Great Lakes:

The province imposes only a tiny charge for its mandatory permits for taking large amounts of water. The … proposed legislation does not spell out exactly what constitutes large amounts of bottled water.

The industry insists it’s not a threat to the province’s groundwater supply and complains it is being unfairly singled out.

Although consumption of bottled water in Canada jumped nearly 20 per cent between 2004 and 2005, provincial statistics show bottlers take less than two-tenths of 1 per cent of all the water extracted from Ontario’s lakes, rivers and underground streams, the association stated in a report last year.

“The amount of water that we’re using as an industry is equal to the amount 10 golf courses use in a year,” Griswold [Elizabeth Griswold, executive director of the Canadian Bottled Water Association] said.

The legislation would also enshrine into law a deal signed in December 2005 by Ontario, Quebec and eight U.S. states to strengthen restrictions on bulk water exports out of the Great Lakes. It’s aimed mainly at preventing states in the south and Midwest – whose water supplies are running low – from tapping into the lakes.

For an update on where the Great Lakes Compact and Agreement are in the legislative process, see this prior post.

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