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UPDATE: Help stop the Nestle water taking permit in Guelph

CTV.ca reports that Nestle is “asking the (Ontario) Ministry of the Environment to extend its permit allowing the company to continue to pump millions of litres of water daily (from Aberfoyle, near Guelph, just west of Toronto). But that application concerns a Guelph-based advocacy group, Wellington Water Watchers. (On Saturday) the group walked for three hours from downtown Guelph to the front gates of the Nestle Plant in Aberfoyle. They are opposing a 10 year water taking permit extension. Wellington Water Watchers are concerned about the amount of water being pumped out of the local aquifer.”

“Nestle’s (current) permit expires in April. …In 2007, when Nestle applied for a five year renewal of its water taking licence, the Provincial Government got nearly 8,000 complaints, mostly from people living in Guelph. As a result the licence was only renewed for three years.”

The Guelph Mercury adds that this past Thursday the Lake Erie Source Protection Region committee heard a motion that could have restricted Nestle’s ability to take water from the Mill Creek watershed in Aberfoyle. “As part of Ontario’s Clean Water Act, the agency is responsible for developing drinking water protection plans for the expansive area of southern Ontario that drains into Lake Erie.” The motion, brought forward by Mark Goldberg, a co-founder of Wellington Water Watchers, “urged the Ministry of the Environment to ‘defer issuing and renewing permits to take water to commercial water bottlers within the Grand River Watershed’ until a so-called water budget for the area can be completed.” But, unfortunately, “A majority of committee members felt there were already measures in place to turn off the taps of water bottlers such as Nestlé if necessary. The motion was defeated by a strong majority.”

TAKE ACTION: The fight is far from over. You can take action and oppose the Nestle permit by responding to the Council of Canadians ‘ACTION ALERT: Stop Nestle Canada’s request for a 10-year water permit in Guelph’ at http://canadians.org/action/2011/Guelph-Nestle.html. Another Guelph Mercury article has noted, “The water watchers group learned the Ministry of Environment extended its deadline for public comment. The online environmental registry will close on March 5 for comments. However, residents can still e-mail MOEWCR.permits@ontario.ca with comments until April 15.”

Our action alert notes, “In 2008, due to the Wellington Water Watchers and efforts of the Guelph Chapter and other activists (and the 8,000 complaints noted above), Nestlé’s permit was limited from 5 to 2 years and Nestlé’s was required to conduct extensive monitoring on the impact of their water taking.” With your participation, Nestle can be denied again. The Council of Canadians has already e-mailed its membership in the Guelph-area asking them to comment against a 10-year water taking permit for Nestle. We have also made a contribution to the Wellington Water Watchers to assist them in this campaign.

A CTV.ca news video of the march – which features the Council of Canadians banner at several times – is at http://swo.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110305/Nestle2011-03-05/20110305/?hub=SWOHome.

A previous campaign blog on this situation is at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=6682.