CONSULTATIONS LAUNCHED ON NEW GROUNDWATER AND WATER WELL LEGISLATION
– – – Stronger Legislation to be Introduced This Spring: Mackintosh
The province is seeking the public’s input on a new Groundwater and Water Well Act, Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh announced today, in recognition of World Water Day, first proclaimed by the United Nations in 1993.
“More than 25 per cent of Manitobans regularly rely on groundwater for a variety of uses,” said Mackintosh. “The province’s original legislation was first proclaimed almost 50 years ago. While it has had updates since then, this new act would ensure the continued safety of our groundwater resources for the future.”
Amendments to the legislation are being considered in several areas:
licensing and certification to ensure the competence of professional well drillers including geothermal drillers;
driller responsibility and liability insurance requirements that would protect landowners including protection from uncontrolled flowing wells;
better management and protection of groundwater including new reporting requirements and designation of sensitive areas, protection protocols for water wells in flood-prone areas and a new process for aquifer management planning;
stronger water well drilling, construction and new sealing standards;
establishment of a groundwater and water well database; and
stronger compliance and enforcement measures.
“We support the efforts of the province to address long-needed changes to the current legislation,” said Jeff Bell, president, Manitoba Water Well Association. “We look forward to actively participating in the review process and working with the province to develop new and modernized legislation.”
“Geothermal drillers are pleased to have the opportunity for input into the Groundwater and Water Well Act amendments,” said Ron Robins, president, Manitoba Geothermal Energy Alliance. “Geothermal drillers will continue to do their part toward preservation and protection of Manitoba's groundwater sources.”
About 1,500 water wells are drilled in Manitoba each year. There are currently about 35,000 active water wells.
In addition to the public, the consultation will allow the water well-drilling industry, the geothermal industry and other stakeholders to review and provide comments on proposed changes.