Protect Our Water

Support the first ever Green legislation in Ontario

It’s long past time to Protect our Water. Mike Schreiner wants to take the first step.

His Private Member’s Bill would protect the Paris Galt Moraine, which purifies clean drinking water for nearly 200,000 people in southern Ontario.

Guelph is one of the largest cities in Canada to rely solely on groundwater for its water supply. But this is under threat from drought, climate change, urban sprawl and reckless industry. If we don’t take action now to protect this drinking water source, it could be lost forever.

Help Mike protect Ontario's water.

Email your MPP to show your support of the Paris Galt Moraine Conservation Act.

About the Paris Galt Moraine

The Paris Galt Moraine is an essential water recharge area in Ontario’s largest watershed, the Grand River watershed. It filters and purifies drinking water in a region expected to grow by one million residents by 2041.

The moraine is under increasing strain from development pressures, commercial water demands and severe weather brought on by climate change. Without protection, it could lose the ability to provide clean drinking water, devastating communities and creating a huge financial burden.

If passed, the Paris Galt Moraine Conservation Act would regulate land use in the area, ensuring the ecological health of the moraine is safeguarded. It would trigger the creation of a conservation plan, bringing together all stakeholders to protect the moraine for generations to come.

The first Green legislation in Ontario is about putting people and planet above profit.

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The proposed Private Members Bill would amend the Planning Act and Development Charges Act, 1997 to restrict and regulate development that threatens the integrity of the Paris Galt Moraine system.

It would also instruct the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to establish a conservation plan to provide direction to provincial ministries, municipalities, landowners, and other stakeholders on how to protect the moraine’s ecological and hydrological features.

The plan would guide land-use planning decisions and be reviewed every 10 years in consultation with affected stakeholders.

This Bill largely applies the framework of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, which was written and passed by a Progressive Conservative government in 2001.

In many ways it can be seen as an expansion of the Greenbelt to include protections for a critical water source in a fast-growing region of Ontario.

Guelph is one of the largest cities in Canada to rely on groundwater exclusively for its drinking water supply. The area also includes good farmland and a thriving centre for local business, each of which rely on local water sources.

For years, community groups in Guelph have been defending against quarries, water bottling and weak provincial laws that threaten their drinking water.

The surrounding region, including Brant County, Waterloo, Guelph-Wellington, Dufferin and Simcoe is estimated to grow by one million people by 2041, placing strain on the moraine.

The City of Guelph is already experiencing serious water use restrictions, brought on by drought and climate change. And with increasing commercial water demands, existing laws are insufficient for protecting the ecological integrity of the Paris Galt Moraine.

If passed, the bill would preserve the long-term water supply of the region, putting community interests ahead of corporate profits.

Moraines are massive hills of sand and gravel left behind after the last ice age that filter water at no cost to citizens. These landforms also offer habitat for wildlife, maintain wetlands, streams and rivers, and decrease flooding, although many of these ecological services go unaccounted on conventional balance sheets.

The Paris Galt Moraine is an essential recharge area in the Grand River Watershed, extending approximately 150 km from the Caledon area to an area southwest of Port Rowan. It provides clean drinking water at no cost to the people of Guelph, but there is a catch. Shallow groundwater is very susceptible to threats like urban runoff, landfill and septic leakage, meaning we have to take extra care if we want to preserve this valuable resource.

We know that natural areas are being lost at an unsustainable rate. According to the Environmental Commissioner, southern has lost 72% of its original wetlands, while across the province 350 acres of farmland vanishes every day, chipping away at our food security.

Safe drinking water must be the top priority ahead of private profits or reckless development. As climate change accelerates, freshwater will only become more scarce and difficult to manage.

The Paris Galt Moraine provides and purifies water at no cost to citizens. Establishing the conservation act would address water management concerns in a fiscally responsible manner before the situation becomes dire.

Failing to properly protect the moraine, and in turn preserve the region’s source of freshwater, would require massive investments in water delivery and management infrastructure for the region.

Local businesses, farmers and industry also depend upon this water source to create local jobs and prosperity.  In agriculture, water supply and food security go hand-in-hand. The region makes up an important share of the $30 billion food and farming sector in the province.

This bill would set a precedent for water protection in Ontario, establishing drinking water and ecological health as key priorities in provincial land use planning.

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