Know the Basics – Applying for a Permit to Take Water

Posted: November 21, 2014
Category: Groundwater
Tags: Permit to Take Water, PTTW

Applying for water? What you need to know in order to obtain a permit to take water (PTTW)

If you are planning to access water in the Ontario area, you should be aware of the rules and regulations that the province’s Ministry has set out in order to protect its water resources, including watersheds, from mis-and-overuse. In accordance with the Ministry, municipalities as well as conservation authorities will help to enforce the protocols set out by the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry when permit applications are submitted and reviewed. Particulars include: conservation measures foreseen, sought by the permit-holder, as well as recording daily data relating to the volume of water taken, during the duration of the PTTW. For those requesting more information, you are invited to visit the Ministry of the Environment information page at

Persons or organizations whose daily water intake, regardless of its use, exceeds 50,000 liters require a PTTW. Common water needs and cause(s) to apply and obtain a PTTW include:
• Agricultural
o If needing a PTTW for profited farm use, the permit covers certain aspects to account for the safe usage of water, including use for irrigating crops grown for sale.

• Commercial & Industrial
o PTTW—Regulation 450/07
o Since 1998, the Ministry has successfully sought to require PTTW from major commercial and industrial water users. Such permit holders can include:

  • Bottled water producers and manufacturers, regardless of the water usage classification (i.e. whether labeled as a “beverage” or not)
  • Beverage manufacturers where the water usage involves its use in produce
  • Fruit and/or vegetable canning or pickling facilities that include water into the product
    (i.e. think of the liquids needed to preserve dill pickles, or fruit cups)
  • Ready-mix concrete manufacturers
  • Some non-metallic mineral product manufacturers
  • Manufacturing facilities that are involved in production of pesticides, fertilizers, and other agricultural chemicals where water is used
  • Non-organic chemical manufacturing facilities where water is incorporated into a product

Other PTTW permit-holders can include facilities that deal with any one of the following:

  • Construction
  • Dewatering
  • Institutional
  • Recreational
  • Remediation
  • Water supply
  • Other purposes

There are, however, a few exceptions to requiring a PTTW, such as:

  • When used to fight fires
  • For domestic use
  • Needed for specific farm usage

Determining who is responsible to apply for a PTTW

If a PTTW is needed, make sure the appropriate (i.e. legally responsible) applicant fills out the application correctly. This will ensure an easier and speedier review process. If however you do not legally own the land on which you will be using to take water, you must obtain written permission from the landowner. And, if you are applying on behalf of another individual or organization—even if you are a member of that same organization—that individual or organization is the rightful applicant responsible for maintaining that the PTTW guidelines are carried out.

PTTW approval

Due to the high volume of permit applications, PTTWs should be submitted well in advanced prior to when water taking is intended to start.

The Ministry also posts PTTW applications on the Environmental Registry as a means of obtaining public concerns, questions and comments when considering permit approval to ensure that the application and its user(s) are complying with the terms and conditions as stated in the Environmental Bill of Rights.



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