Rainbow

Rainbow

Friday, March 5, 2010

Source water protection plans and agriculture

Better Farming asked Ontario Cattleman's Association water quality specialist Chris Attema about new source water protection reports being completed.  Seven reports from 36 zones have been completed and released, and Attema suggests that agricultural drainage is being treated much differently than urban drainage.  Read the article at: Better Farming - "Water Protection Plans will hammer agriculture warns expert"

Under the Clean Water Act, 2006, the provincial government and municipal governments have extensive powers to develop and implement programs aimed at protecting the sources of drinking water.  Through the implementation of source water protection plans (based on the reports that are released for each zone), agricultural activity may be restricted and/or made more expensive.  The Act gives the government the ability to restrict land use and to inspect premises without landowner consent or a warrant. 

The Clean Water Act, 2006 also expressly provides that there will be no compensation or damages and no remedy for basically anything done under the Act.  While lands can be expropriated for the purposes of source water protection according to the Expropriations Act (which requires that compensation be paid), nothing else that is done under the Clean Water Act, 2006 can constitute expropriation or injurious affection.  In other words, there is no compensation for the imposition of land use restrictions and additional costs for landowners.  Unless the land is actually taken, the best a landowner can hope for is funding for necessary changes through a related government program.

For more information on the Clean Water Act, 2006, vist the Ontario Ministry of the Environment webpage.