Ontario Water Opportunities Act
Water Sustainability in Ontario
This past spring, Bill 72, the Water Opportunities Act, was introduced in the Ontario legislature. If adopted, the Act would help move Ontario forward, towards achieving water sustainability. Notably, Bill 72 would enable:
- A new planning document, Municipal Water Sustainability Plans, that include the ability to require water conservation targets.
- An update of the Ontario Building Code to improve water efficiency standards in new buildings.
- Labeling requirements for water fixtures.
- The potential to require development of water conservation plans in public facilities such as schools, hospitals and public pools.
The Act includes many actions recommended in H2Ontario: A Blueprint for a Comprehensive Water Conservation and Efficiency Strategy, a research report prepared by the University of Victoria's POLIS Project on Ecological Governance.
Environmental Bill of Rights
Over the past several months, POLIS has endorsed two submissions to the Environmental Bill of Rights, recommending important additions to Bill 72. The recommendations, prepared by members of the Ontario Water Conservation Alliance, called for more rigorous accountability measures such as:
- setting clear targets;
- support for green infrastructure;
- greater opportunity for First Nations to benefit from actions;
- a public education campaign; and
- applying “blue strings” (water conservation conditions) to future infrastructure grants.
“Bill 72 has a strong potential to set a new standard for water conservation policy across Canada—it is one to watch!,” states Oliver Brandes, POLIS associate director and water sustainability project leader.
Posted November 2010