Food for thought

Though long late by the time this is published, and too late coming to me for encouraging participation, I feel a toss of my soggy sombrero and a long and loud exclamation of “Right on, Right on,” is due to the members of Wellington Water Watchers.

They have chosen a magnificent, healthy and challenging way of getting a very important point across to our apparently sleeping politicians.

This e-mail came to me March 4 titled March to Nestle, explaining in detail the following:

“This March to Nestle is primarily a celebration of how fabulous our groundwater is here – and that we would like to keep it where it is. The march is long, from 12 to 3:30pm, March 5 but if you can, join us for all of it or just part. We will be leaving from 10 Carden Street (opposite the new city hall downtown Guelph) all the way south on Gordon Street to the Nestle plant past Aberfoyle. You could gauge the timing and meet us along the way.

“Water is the lifeblood of this planet. It is the common bond of all living creatures, including the planet itself. We need to say no to the corporatization of this precious resource. Let’s celebrate the fabulous water we have here and show the world we value it.

“The Issue: Nestle Waters Canada has applied for an unprecedented 10-year permit extension to take 3.6 million litres of water per day at the Aberfoyle site. Wellington Water Watchers opposes this application because:

“The amount of ground water in our Grand River watershed is not known. Allowing large volume water taking is like writing blank cheques on a bank account with an unknown balance.

“Water is too valuable a resource to be given away – and that’s virtually what our province does by charging Nestle and others a mere $3.71 for every million taken.

“In 2010, Nestle paid just $2,238 for over 600 million litres of water taken … in Aberfoyle. This works out to about .0000004 cents per litre, a far cry from the true value of such a priceless resource.

“Environmental harm is being done. The millions of litres taken weekly are put into … disposable plastic bottles. The industry claims 60% of these bottles are recycled – as what? – but that still means hundreds of millions every year become litter or trash in our landfills. We call this a permit to pollute.

“There are no water conservation measures built into this renewal permit. The volume of water taken should be decreased annually to encourage water conservation. This is one of the principles of Ontario’s new Water Opportunities Act.

“We believe that water taking is harming Mill Creek. There are no brook trout in the stretch of creek that runs beside the bottling plant, but there are trout in the rest of the creek. Is so much water being taken that it is preventing spring water from upwelling into the streambed? Until this is resolved, a precautionary approach should be taken.

“The application has asked for an unprecedented 10-year water-taking permit.

“Yet we have no idea how drought or climate change will affect Guelph’s water supply in years to come. At most, any new permit should be issued for three years or less.

“Much of the water when bottled leaves the Grand River watershed. Justice Dennis O’Conner’s report on the Walkerton tragedy recommended that water be managed on a watershed basis. Nestle and others should be required to use glass deposit-bearing bottles that are sold only in the Grand River watershed.”

Food for thought, don’t you think? If you are not part of prevention, are you part of the cause?

Take care, ‘cause we care.



Barrie Hopkins