After years of struggling to water their fields, potato growers in Prince Edward Island will now have access to water for supplemental irrigation through high-capacity wells, the provincial government announced on June 10.
P.E.I.’s Water Act comes into effect on June 16, the province says this new act which was developed with input from the stakeholders and public will provide fairer access to water for everyone. Well construction, sewage disposal, water withdrawal, and water supply system and wastewater treatment regulations have all been approved under the Water Act.
“A sustainable irrigation strategy will be developed taking into account that each watershed is unique and for that reason a ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work across the province,” Steven Myers, P.E.I. minister for environment, energy and climate action, says in a new release. “The sustainable irrigation strategy will also have requirements for soil health and the agriculture industry will be required to follow sustainable soil health practices.”
The P.E.I. Potato Board is welcoming news of the changes. The board says this gives potato growers an option to handle future droughts as the lack of access to water has been a consistent strain on Island farmers.
However, the board says industry, government and stakeholders, such as the P.E.I. Watershed Alliance, must work collaboratively to ensure clear regulations and protections are in place for responsible water use.