PEI

Taking water from stressed rivers during drought not allowed under new P.E.I. Water Act, says official

An incident last summer where water was drawn for irrigation from the Dunk River in central P.E.I. during a drought would not be allowed under the new Water Act, says the province’s manager of water and air monitoring.

Prohibition written into regulations, says water monitoring manager

Water levels in the Dunk River were below set maintenance levels when water was withdrawn for irrigation last summer. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

An incident last summer where water was drawn for irrigation from the Dunk River in central P.E.I. during a drought would not be allowed under the new Water Act, says the province's manager of water and air monitoring.

Bruce Raymond made the comments while appearing before a standing committee of the legislature.

Last summer, five farmers in the Kinkora-Bedeque region were allowed to use surface water in the Dunk in August despite that waterway being 5 centimetres below levels when water use should be cut off, according to current provincial regulations.

Raymond said the new Water Act would have prohibited that.

"The minister cannot issue a permit if there were to be unacceptable adverse effects, and those are defined as such," he said.

Green MLA Lynne Lund asked once more, saying she wanted to be absolutely certain. Raymond confirmed that prohibition is spelled out in the regulations.

The new Water Act and regulations take effect June 16.

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