The lack of rain this summer has been a concern of Islanders tip to tip. It resulted in the flow of many Island rivers to fall below their assigned maintenance level. These values are necessary to protect the ecological integrity of the river systems. Under the EPA regulations, extractions from these rivers cease once that threshold is surpassed. On Sept. 18, P.E.I.’s Watershed Alliance issued a public statement pointing out recent extractions from the Dunk River to facilitate potato irrigation. This took place during the period from Aug. 19-26, at a time when the river was significantly below its assigned maintenance flow. The Dennis King government made special dispensations to allow this to take place without accepting counsel from the local watershed group.
On the same day, Premier King was in New Annan to mark the opening of Cavendish Farm’s potato research facility. Mr. Robert Irving flew in for the occasion and took the opportunity to ramp up his demand to end the moratorium on high-capacity wells. In the premier’s response was the statement “we have to have an adult and grown-up conversation about it.”
I think we need “an adult and grownup conversation” about his government’s reluctance to respect existing regulatory environmental protections and the language and intent of the still pending Water Act. Perhaps in this conversation Premier King could also justify his choice to sweeten the spreadsheet of a chosen few.