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On Tuesday, May 15, 2012, Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship introduced a new Groundwater and Water Well Act into the legislature. The new Act will replace the existing Ground Water and Water Well Act that is nearly 50 years old. The Groundwater and Water Well Act was subsequently passed and received Royal Assent on June 14, 2012. The new Act is part of a new eight-point Groundwater Strategy.
The Groundwater and Water Well Act is a key component of the province’s strategy to protect aquifers, groundwater, and those who rely on well water. The eight-point strategy includes:
The new Act deals with a number of issues not currently included in legislation or where strengthening of legislation is needed to provide additional protection to groundwater and aquifers. The new Act includes measures to manage and protect groundwater, as well as to strengthen legislation governing the drilling, construction, maintenance, and sealing of wells. New and improved licensing and standards to protect groundwater and well owners and first-in-Manitoba certification requirements for well drillers and sealers will be developed. In addition to water supply wells, the new Act also applies to geothermal, geotechnical, and monitoring wells. The new Act will formalize the process for establishing aquifer management plans for the management, protection, and sustainable use of aquifers. The new Act also enables the development of supporting regulations.
The current Ground Water and Well Water Act will remain in force until regulations are developed and in effect for the various sections of the new Groundwater and Water Well Act. Regulation development will involve input from stakeholders.
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