Earthroots, Ecojustice expose industrial, commercial threats to drinking water provided by Oak Ridges Moraine


One day after World Rivers Day, Earthroots and Ecojustice launched the first in a three-part series of infographics that set out the challenges, symptoms and solutions to the Ontario government’s water management policies on the Oak Ridge Moraine.

The Moraine, a 160-kilometre ridge of sand and gravel hills running along the northern part of the Greater Toronto Area, is a sensitive ecosystem that has been legally protected for its value to Ontarians: providing headwaters to 65 river systems, homes for more than 70 threatened and endangered species and drinking water for more than 250,000.

Today’s infographic, Moraine Drain, looks at the trouble we encountered while investigating whether the large amounts of water Ontario allows to be pumped from the Moraine through its Permit to Take Water program jeopardizes the Moraine’s function as a natural water filtration system.

  • Golf courses and bottled water companies are among the large and highly consumptive takers on the Moraine.

There were 72 permits, with 177 sources where water is taken, in December 2011. If every permit holder drained 50,000 litres per day from each source (the minimum amount that triggers a need for permit) that would equal 8.85 million litres each day.

It would take the average Ontarian 107 years to use the minimum amount of water that’s able to be pumped from the Moraine each day.

  • At two-thirds of the 177 water sources, permit holders are allowed to take more than 10 times the 50,000 litres per day.

Read the full blog post at:

The entire series will be available on-line at:

Earthroots is a grassroots organization dedicated to protecting Ontario’s wilderness, wildlife and watersheds through research, education and action.

Ecojustice is the country’s leading charitable organization dedicated to using the law to defend Canadians’ right to a healthy environment.


For more details, please contact:

Josh Garfinkel, senior campaigner | Earthroots 416-562-3894

Dr. Anastasia Lintner, economist and staff lawyer | Ecojustice 416-368-7533 x530