Government releases Irrigation Strategy and approves Water Act regulation change

Government committed to the development of a sustainable irrigation strategy last summer when enacting the Water Act. The strategy was written in collaboration with stakeholders and with input from Islanders. The final document is now being released.

In the spring of 2021, a new draft amendment of the Water Withdrawal Regulations was provided to the public for comment. In this draft amendment, a change was proposed in how permits for high-capacity wells for agricultural irrigation are treated. Specifically, that the moratorium on high-capacity well permits be removed and replaced with an allowance for these permits be granted subject to a satisfactory irrigation strategy. This regulation has been approved which in effect lifts the moratorium on high capacity wells for irrigation. In addition, permit holders that rely on high water use supplies may be required to develop drought contingency plans.

However, with this there are several stipulations in place to safeguard the environment that go above and beyond the requirements for other high capacity well users. Applicants applying for high capacity well permits must participate in the Soil Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) program with the Department of Agriculture and Land, have a drought contingency plan and, in heavily used watersheds, must bring forward a watershed irrigation plan. Islanders are able to apply for these permits beginning June 11, 2022.

Government is also launching a Water Registry that has been developed over the past year. This online platform allows Islanders to view and interact with maps that display water information such as water use, well locations, water quantity and quality, and more.

To use the water registry online tool and find more information and facts about water on Prince Edward Island visit: PEI Water Registry.  

Media contact:
Jill Edwards
Senior Communications Officer
Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action

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