Wastewater treatment plant, iStock image copyrighted

Managing Water

On Prince Edward Island, we know how much water is used and for what purpose. Many Islanders get their residential water from a municipal water utility. PEI water utilities obtain water for their customers from high capacity wells in the area of the community. For example, the City of Charlottetown has wells in the Winter River watershed and the Coles Creek (North River estuary) watershed. Others, who do not get their water from a municipal water utility, get their water from their own dedicated well.

Here is an approximate breakdown of groundwater use by sector:

How we use groundwater on PEI

Type Water Use (billion litres/yr) Percentage
Residential 16.7 bn L 47%
Industrial 12.8 bn L 36%
Geothermal heat 3.5 bn L 10%
Livestock operations 2.0 bn L 6%
Irrigation (incl. agriculture) 0.6 bn L 2%

Pie chart that illustrates how PEI uses its groundwater by sector

*excluding salt water wells I ** Download the full groundwater usage summary

Did you know? The amount of water withdrawn annually is only a small portion compared to the amount of water recharge each year – less than two per cent (2%).

Once the Water Act becomes law, the scope of water withdrawal activities that require monitoring will expand considerably. New water withdrawal regulations proposed under the legislation will mean that more water users will be required to measure and report their water use.

“The provincial government imposes extraction limits on our wells to protect stream and ecosystem. Over time, these limits are becoming more conservative and protective.” – City of Charlottetown

The legislation also requires government to manage water resources in a more transparent way, and to ensure that status information is easy for the public to find and use.

High capacity wells on PEI

The economy of Prince Edward Island depends on farming, tourism, food processing, fisheries and aquaculture. Along with municipalities, industries such as tourism and food processing also use high capacity wells.

Graphic of locations of high capacity wells on PEI

View map of PEI high capacity well locations

The Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change has stringent regulations in place to protect PEI’s water supply. When considering applications for high capacity wells, government requires tests to demonstrate that enough water can be pumped from the well without affecting the local water table, nearby wells and the watershed itself.

There can be local water stress in some watersheds from high municipal and industrial water usage, especially during dry seasons in late summer and early fall.

PEI Well Records

This map contain details of the location, construction, and groundwater level of wells drilled on PEI from 1962 to 2018. If you can't find your well, contact us or your well driller. 

PEI Holding Pond Survey Summary

Over the past few years there has been an increase in the construction of irrigation ponds throughout PEI. To monitor and collect information on low capacity wells used for agricultural irrigation, the Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change conducted a survey of low capacity wells and ponds. 

See the results