Manitoba Conservation & Water Stewardship Minister Gord MackIntosh introduced The Groundwater And Water Well And Related Amendments Act to the Legislature May 15, 2012.
The proposed Act "puts in place new protections for water wells, specifically looking at qualifications for well drillers as well as protections in terms of the drilling and sealing of wells, and as well, formally recognizes in legislation the important role of aquifer management planning," said MackIntosh.
Manitoba released a discussion paper on the proposed legislative changes in March and requested public comments online. Comments received have not been made public, and the discussion paper is no longer available on the Government of Manitoba webpage dedicated to the proposed New Groundwater Act and Strategy.
"This Government needs to understand that simply putting a discussion paper up on a website is not consultation. The comments received need to be shared in an open and transparent manner, and greater efforts need to be made to engage the public," suggested Manitoba Wildlands Director Gaile Whelan Enns.
Whelan Enns also pointed out that new act deals only with drinking water wells. Wells drilled under the Manitoba's Mines and Minerals Act and/or Oil and Gas Act are specifically excluded from the new well rules.
"Fracking is one of the biggest current risks to the safety of our aquifers," said Gaile Whelans. "If this government wants to get serious about aquifer management planning, then it needs to address the impacts that fracking has on water quality."
View Bill 25: The Groundwater And Water Well And Related Amendments Act
View May 16, 2012 Winnipeg Free Press coverage
View May 15, 2012 Legislative Assembly of Manitoba Hansard (Transcript of Debates)
View May 15, 2012 Government of Manitoba press release
View March 22, 2012 Government of Manitoba press release
View Government of Manitoba New Groundwater and Water Well Act and Groundwater Strategy Proposed website
View Manitoba Wildlads Reality Check: Do Manitoba and Canada Have Public Consultation Standards?
View Manitoba Wildlads Reality Check: Is Fracking Happening in Manitoba?
View March 30, 2012 Manitoba Wildlands news item
View Manitoba Wildlands Manitoba Water Initiatives page
Government of Manitoba