Protect Source Water - We Need Your Help

In Solidarity with Wellington Water Watchers, We Need Your Help

Wellington Water Watchers is a volunteer organization which has been working steadily for 5 years now on protecting source water.

Nestlé & Hillsburgh water – What’s Up?

hillsburgh-landfillNestlé Waters Canada is currently asking the province of Ontario for a 10-year extension to its existing 5-year permit to take up to 1.1 million litres of water per day from its rural Hillsburgh farm property.

  • This water is trucked 24/7 in 38,000-litre tankers along our sideroads and highways to Nestlé’s Aberfoyle bottling plant, 50 kilometres away.
  • It’s subsequently ozonated and injected into hundreds of millions of plastic bottles made from oil and trucked long distances to distribution centres and final markets.
  • At least half the empty bottles – tens of millions each year from the Hillsburgh permit alone - end up in our landfills and incinerators, or as litter.
  • Bottled water is several hundred times more expensive than tap water.
  • Nestlé pays the Ministry of Environment (MOE) $3.71 per million litres.

 

Nestlé gets Hillsburgh water at an absurdly low price from the province. The Town of Erin receives an annual grant from Nestlé - but it’s pocket change from the world’s largest food and beverage corporation. They get 24/7 truck noise, road wear-and-tear, toxic diesel fumes, and lower property values along the route. All Ontarians get too many tonnes of plastic garbage, and the world gets a lot more of what it least needs – climate-changing carbon emissions.

 

Ontario's water-taking permit process is deeply flawed

Wellington Water Watchers and the Council of Canadians have submitted a Request for Review to the Ministry of Environment challenging them to honour their own Statement of Environmental Values as they relate to bottled water permits.

Short Points

Wellington Water Watchers opposes this application because:

  • The amount of groundwater 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 Nestlé and others a mere $3.71 for every million litres taken.
  • In 2010, Nestlé paid just $2,238 for over 600 million litres of water taken from Mill Creek 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 being done. The millions of litres taken weekly are put into single-use, disposable plastic bottles. The industry claims 60% of these bottles are recycled but that still means hundreds of millions every year become litter, or trash in our landfills. WWW (Wellington Water Watchers) 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.
  • The applicant has asked for an unprecedented 10-year water-taking permit. Yet WWW 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’Connor’s report on the Walkerton tragedy recommended that water be managed on a watershed basis. Nestlé and others should be required to use glass, deposit-bearing bottles that are sold only within the Grand River watershed.

See full details.

How Can You Help Protect Source Water?

Submit your objections within 30 days (up until May 20, 2012) to the Ontario Minister of the Environment. See Nestle EBR submission.

Copy and past form and points of objection and instructions for online and offline submissions can be found at: http://www.wellingtonwaterwatchers.ca/home/the-issues/hillsburgh/

Deadline for comments is May 20, 2012