Blue ribbons are popping up around trees, posts, pillars, and on doors and balconies around the Township of Centre Wellington North of Guelph in Southwest Ontario. That blue ribbon shows support for Saveourwater.ca who are opposing a permit to take water by Nestle Waters Canada from a local well. They are asking the Ontario government not to grant the permit and to put a moratorium on commercial watertaking for bottling from the watershed.
Nestle has a water bottling operation in Aberfoyle which is South of Guelph. At that site, they have a permit to take 3.6 million litres a day. They have a permit to take 1.1 million litres a day in Hillsburgh too. The Centre Wellington site pending permit is for 1.6 million litres a day. That is a maximum daily take of 6.3 million litres per day that would fill 12.6 million plastic bottles per day for sale under one of the 52 brands Nestle bottles water.
Local residents are concerned about that much water leaving the Grand River watershed as the area is projected to double in population under the Places to Grow legislation. The amount asked for in the permit is equal to the daily use of the Village of Elora presently.
The Grand is also a river that is vulnerable to drought and low water levels. Take a look at the Globe and Mail article of December 20, 2015 by Roy McGregor. The river disappeared altogether for 80 of its 280 kilometers in 1936. The issue of who controls water is crucial. The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change provide the gateway for water use and grant the permits in Ontario.
Ontario’s Clean Water Act of 2006 gives this as the definition of a drinking water threat, “An activity that takes water from an aquifer or a surface water body without returning the water taken to the same aquifer or surface water body.” Under this definition, Nestle is a drinking water threat.
That is why blue ribbons are showing up around the township. Water is a finite and precious resource we cannot afford to have shipped away from the aquifer. Contact your provincial and local politicians and tell them to say NO to Nestle!