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Ontario Moving Forward to Protect Water Resources

Archived News Release

Ontario Moving Forward to Protect Water Resources

Two-Year Moratorium on New and Expanded Water Bottling Operations Now In Effect

Ontario is protecting groundwater sources in the province by moving forward with a two-year moratorium on new and expanded water takings by bottling companies.

Effective today, the moratorium bans new water bottling facilities from taking groundwater, and prohibits existing facilities from increasing their groundwater taking or testing for future groundwater sources. It will ensure groundwater resources are better conserved for future generations, and help to protect against future water insecurity due to climate change, population growth, increasing consumption and drought.

While the moratorium is in place, Ontario also plans to further strengthen groundwater protection by:

  • Undertaking further research to improve understanding of groundwater
  • Examining how pricing and other tools could be used to help manage and protect water resources
  • Reviewing existing rules for water bottlers to ensure long-term groundwater protection, including considering the impacts of climate change and future demand on water sources
  • Consulting with communities, industry and Indigenous partners on changes to groundwater management practices before they are implemented.

Managing water resources responsibly is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Quick Facts

  • The moratorium applies to all water bottling facilities required to have a permit under the Ontario Water Resources Act.
  • The moratorium was initially proposed in October and was posted for public comment on the province’s Environmental Registry until Dec. 1, 2016, where more than 20,000 public comments were received. The moratorium will remain in effect until Jan. 1, 2019.
  • Ontario is currently seeking feedback from the public on stricter rules for water bottling companies that use groundwater. The proposed rules are posted on the Environmental Registry for comment and will remain open until Jan. 31, 2017.
  • In Ontario, water bottling facilities must apply for permits to take water from groundwater sources if the facility takes more than 50,000 litres of water in a day.
  • Groundwater is water held underground in the soil or in pores and crevices in rock.
  • Ontario’s drinking water is among the best protected in the world.

Additional Resources


“Water is a vital resource – one that is essential to the health and integrity of our ecosystems and communities. We need to ensure water is protected for future generations, and this moratorium is an important step to ensure its sustainability.”

Glen Murray

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

Media Contacts



Environment and Energy