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Northumberland chapter calls on Liberal MPP to support moratorium on bottled water takings

Northumberland chapter activists and Liberal MPP Lou Rinaldi.

The Council of Canadians Northumberland chapter met with Liberal MPP Lou Rinadli today to call on him to support a permanent moratorium on single-use bottled water takings in Ontario.

Chapter activist Faye McFarlane says, “We believe that water is for life, not for profit. We must protect our water as a commons. It is not a commodity to be bought and sold on the world market.”

The chapter’s media release highlights, “Nestle is presently permitted to pump up to 4.7 million litres of groundwater per day from its Aberfoyle and Hillsburgh wells in Wellington County. Most of this water will never be returned to regenerate the aquifer. Nestlé pays just $3.71 per one million litres (less than $15 per day) for this water and then ships it out of the community in hundreds of millions of single-use plastic bottles for sale all over North America – at an astronomically marked up price. In August, Nestle purchased a well in Elora, Ontario despite the local municipality’s attempt to purchase it to safeguard their municipal water supply.”

The chapter adds, “Nestle is the dominant water bottling company in Canada, but there are others. Locally, Ice River Springs in Grafton has a ten year permit to pump 746,000 litres per day, and Mill Valley Springs (Robins Holdings), north of Baltimore on Hwy 45, has a permit to pump more than 250,000 litres per day.”

Last month, the Ontario government launched a public comment period on renewing permits for existing bottled water operations. Our action alert on this states, “What the government has proposed is just more of the same. Instead of saying ‘no’ to wasteful and unnecessary use of water, the government will make decisions based on studies provided by the corporations seeking permits.”

We believe the Ontario government should:

  • require Nestlé to sell the Middlebrook well to the Township of Centre Wellington who need it for their drinking water

  • implement a permanent moratorium on new permits for single-use bottled water facilities

  • phase out current permits for such facilities

  • prioritize community use over corporate interests for water resources in Ontario

  • seek the free, prior and informed consent of affected Indigenous peoples.

If you agree, please send a message to the Ontario government through this online action alert before their deadline of January 31.

The Northumberland chapter also presented Rinaldi with Boycott Nestle Pledges signed by local residents. To date, 47,448 people have signed this pledge. To add your name to that initiative, please click here.