As the P.E.I. government tabled its highly-anticipated Water Act, the Opposition stressed monitoring the Island's water is key to protecting it.

"The key thing is not only to monitor the use of the wells, but also, if we can, the level of water in our aquifers," said PC environment critic Brad Trivers.

PEI MLA Brad Trivers

Trivers is concerned not all the necessary monitoring equipment is in place. (Government of P.E.I.)

"I'm not entirely sure we have all of that monitoring equipment and abilities in place."

The new act, the province's first comprehensive water plan, bans fracking and water exports, and lowers the volume limit where permits for wells will be required. It does not directly address the moratorium on high-volume wells for agriculture, Environment Minister Robert Mitchell said that will be an issue for regulations associated with the act.

The province continues to approve high-capacity wells for non-agricultural uses, and Trivers is concerned about the impact those might be having.

PEI Environment Minister Robert Mitchell

The government is conducting research on monitoring water levels, says Mitchell. (Government of P.E.I.)

"If you're going to allow people to continue to build high capacity wells, you have to be able to monitor not just the amount of water taken out, but how much water is down in the aquifer itself," he said.

Mitchell said government is conducting more research on how water extraction affects waterways and wildlife in each Island watershed.

Once that information is available, sometime next year, the government will come up with a plan on how to proceed with high-capacity wells.

With files from Kerry Campbell