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Advancing Water Stewardship In Ontario's Agri-Food Sector

Archived News Release

Advancing Water Stewardship In Ontario's Agri-Food Sector

McGuinty Government Helps Farmers Find Ways To Reduce, Re-use

Ontario is investing in new research that will help protect and conserve water while building a strong, sustainable future for our agri-food industries and rural communities.

Through the New Directions research program, the government will support projects focused on:

  • evaluating five innovative treatment technologies in greenhouses for their effectiveness in providing high-quality water for re-use and sharing the results with industry
  • developing industry guidelines based on research comparing twenty on-farm dairy systems for efficient water use
  • finding new uses for wastewater from biodiesel production

In 2000, Ontario experienced a tragedy because of contaminated water in Walkerton. More than 120 recommendations were made and the government implemented every single one of them. Ontario has the highest standards for drinking water in North America and has gone on to develop water technologies that not only provide safe, reliable, clean drinking water to Ontarians but also to the rest of the world. This has also benefited Ontarians by creating clean jobs and protecting one of our most valuable resources for our children and our grandchildren.

Quick Facts

  • Close to $300,000 is being invested in water-related research as part of almost $1.3 million provided under the New Directions research program.
  • Under the same program, Ontario is investing in projects aimed at the emerging organic and ethnic markets, ornamental horticulture (e.g. flowers and plants) sector and food processing.
  • The New Directions research program supports the sustainable growth and competitiveness of Ontario's agri-food sector through investments in innovative and high-quality research.
  • Across the province, the clean water industry employs 22,000 people and generates $1.8 billion in sales.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“Our farmers and food processors are excellent stewards of the environment. We are proud to share in their commitment to protect our water sources so that our children, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren can have clean, fresh water.”

Carol Mitchell

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

“One way to improve both the economic feasibility and environmental impact of biodiesel production is by using biodiesel wastewater. We feel that using this wastewater in the composting process will reduce the loss of nutrients to the air and to water and lead to an improved compost product. The unique support that the New Directions program provides has allowed us to continue our goal of turning a waste stream into a resource for the benefit of agro-industries and Ontario.”

Rob Nicol,

Lead Biofuels Researcher, Centre for Agricultural Renewable Energy and Sustainability (CARES) University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus

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