Nestle seeks 10-year water-taking permit in Aberfoyle

The Nestle water-taking facility in Aberfoyle.

The Council of Canadians is opposed to Nestle securing a ten-year water-taking permit in Aberfoyle, Ontario.

CTV reports, "Within the next few months, Nestle’s permit to take water from the Aberfoyle area will expire. The bottled water giant is seeking a 10-year renewal of that permit, which currently allows them to take about 2,500 litres of water per minute from the Grand River watershed."

The article adds, "Nestle filed its application to renew its water-taking permit earlier this week."

Nestle's current water taking permit in Aberfoyle is set to expire July 31, 2016.

The Council of Canadians has previously raised concerns about Nestle's water-taking business in Aberfoyle. In 2008, the Council of Canadians Guelph chapter and Wellington Water Watchers campaigned against Nestle and succeeded in at least reducing Nestle's requested permit (from 5 years to 2 years) and requiring the company to do extensive monitoring on the impact of their water takings. In 2013, the two groups, with legal representation from Ecojustice, successfully fought against an Ontario Ministry of Environment decision to remove conditions that made it mandatory for Nestle to reduce its water takings in Hillsburgh during droughts.

The Council of Canadians is also opposed to Nestle securing a water-testing permit in Elora, Ontario and and its ongoing operations in Hope, British Columbia.

CBC has reported, "Residents of a southern Ontario town are worried Nestlé Water Canada's plan to pump up to 1.6 million litres of water per day from a nearby aquifer could leave them high and dry. Nestlé Waters Canada, a subsidiary of the transnational Nestlé company, has conditionally bought an existing well near Elora, Ont. — a small town on the Grand River located about 115 kilometres west of Toronto — that taps into a major aquifer, or underground layer of water. The company hopes to eventually pump water from the aquifer and sell it in the Canadian market, where some 2.4 billion litres of bottled water are sold each year, often at prices similar to gasoline."

A decision on that permit is expected at any time now.

And Vancouver-based Council of Canadians water campaigner Emma Lui has written, "Nestlé also withdraws 265 million litres every year in Hope. The BC government kicked off a firestorm of opposition when it released new water rates that would have Nestlé paying only $2.25 per million litres starting in January 2016 when the new Water Sustainability Act comes into force."

The Council of Canadians defends the United Nations-recognized human right to water and opposes the commodification of water, including the sale of bottled water.

Wellington Water Watchers is a key ally in this fight in Ontario. They are dedicated to the protection, restoration and conservation of drinking water in Guelph and Wellington County. To learn more about them, please click here.