Save Our Water holding community gathering to celebrate its success

ELORA – The local water activist group Save Our Water is holding a community gathering on May 14 to celebrate its years of fighting to keep Centre Wellington’s water supply in the township.

“That’s nearly seven years,” says water activist Jan Beveridge, “and we haven’t lost a drop to Nestlé or BlueTriton,” the new owner of Nestlé Waters Canada and the Middlebrook well situated on the west side of Elora.

The group’s latest campaign, It Took a Community, is a way to thank Centre Wellington citizens for their support and vigilance over the past seven years.

The event on May 14 runs from 11am to 1pm at the picnic pavilion at Bissell Park. There will be a banner to sign, and a “water wall” where citizens can write their thoughts about the importance of a safe water supply.

“We hope all the people who supported us over the years will give us the opportunity to thank them for all their efforts,” said Donna McCaw, another longtime Save Our Water activist.

McCaw noted there have been protest marches, numerous planning meetings, public events, and information campaigns over the years, and the core members of Save Our Water have been overwhelmed by the support.

And there’s cause for celebration.

As of April 2021, new legislation is in place with changes to the Ontario Water Resources Act that now give all municipalities in Ontario a deciding voice on new water bottling permits. This means that before a water bottling company can apply to the province for a new water permit, the company first needs a resolution passed by the local host municipality in support of that permit.

“This was amazing news for us and a real step forward for the whole province,” McCaw said. 

But she points out a water bottler can still apply to take up to 379,000 litres per day without municipal support. 

“For us this exemption would still be too much. So our plan in 2022 is to keep engaged and vigilant regarding this allowance.”

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