Statement from Hannah Bell, Official Opposition critic for Environmental, Energy, and Climate Action on announcement about Water Act
Government announced today that it intends to make changes to water withdrawal regulations as it develops a sustainable irrigation strategy. What is notably absent from government’s press release is that these changes would include lifting the moratorium on high-capacity wells for irrigation that has protected PEI waterways for nearly two decades. This is a monumental decision that will affect future Islanders for generations to come.
Developing a sustainable irrigation strategy that properly protects our water resources is crucial to the success of this Act. This will be a major undertaking that should not be rushed.
Government’s press release is also ambiguous about whether this irrigation strategy will be in place before the moratorium is lifted. We need a commitment from government that the moratorium will not be lifted until an irrigation strategy that all Islanders are comfortable with is in place. We need to work toward a consensus on how we manage this critical resource.
We know farmers need water – we want farmers to be able to access water where that can be done without endangering our waterways. Government needs to convince us, and more importantly the Island public, that they can manage and regulate water in a responsible and equitable way.
Government needs to do its homework on this, and we will be watching very closely to make sure they do.
Hannah Bell, MLA
Official Opposition Critic for Environment, Energy and Climate Change