Posts Tagged ‘Water’

The Guelph Mercury weighs in on Guelph’s water conservation strategy. Yes to more conservation, no to a pipeline to Lake Erie!

Candidates Need To Talk About Water
Guelph Mercury, Editorial
September 20, 2010

There’s a sobering chart in the just-issued annual report of the city’s water conservation and efficiency public advisory committee.

The line graph plots the city’s annual water production against its population growth. The population line is ever rising in the 1998-2010 statistical illustration. The water production is a much flatter line – trending down, with the final year tracked providing the lowest volume flow of water.

During the last civic election campaign, there was some talk of a previously floated remedy to this dilemma – the option of tapping Lake Erie via a pipeline.

So far, the issue of providing a sustainable water supply for the municipality has produced little campaign talk. That might change with the emergence of the water conservation report. It would be good if it did.

The city is set to launch a terrific-sounding pilot program related to this policy area.

This week, the community development and environmental services committee will review a proposed incentive plan to encourage new home builders to establish houses that make smarter use of water. The program would see builders be able to achieve rebates of up to $2,460 for installing such things as low-flow toilets and taps, greywater reuse systems, and/or rainwater harvesting systems.

It could be in place by Nov. 1. We hope it is. It appears a wonderful extension of water conservation measures already undertaken by the municipality such as its promotion of the use of rain barrels and encouragements to replace old inefficient toilets with water-conserving ones.

More can be done and needs to be in this area, however. The city is aiming to reduce average daily water use by 8.7 million litres of water, per day, by 2019. That’s an ambitious target and timeframe – before projected population growth during that period is factored into the thinking.

The pilot Blue Built Home Pilot Program is an example of the type of thinking that will be required to meet this goal. We look forward to council candidates adding to the brainstorming about else could be done. Just please, keep the Lake Erie solution bottled up.

For more on this issue listen to Municipal Election Radio, Tuesdays 7-9 a.m. on CFRU93.3fm in Guelph. Remember if you don’t catch Municipal Election Radio live, you can always pick it up later that day via the CFRU archive or here, on the blog, a day or so later.

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Transit and Transportation advocate David Graham will be joining us again on Royal City Rag on March 11.

Among other things we’ll be talking about the GTA West Corridor project and the proposed upgrades to the Hanlon Expressway. David also has some interesting things to say about the Go Trains coming to Guelph and why a true Park and Ride facility would be good for Guelph.

The show won’t just be about transit though…

We also have a great interview with Sid Ryan, President of CUPE Ontario about why we should ditch bottled water.

Listen live on CFRU 93.3fm, Guelph’s Campus and Community Radio Station or after the fact via the website.

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A message from GUFF Guelph:

Concerned about  water resources and trees? 

Please consider attending the final Public Information Centre for the proposed Update of Guelph’s Water Conservation and Efficiency Strategy on February 4 from 6.30 – 8.00 p.m. in Cooperators Hall at the River Run Centre, Woolwich Street, Downtown Guelph.

Your input is vital to making the changes we need for our sustainable future in Guelph. The last public information session in December 2008 did not include any reference to our urban forest. The information on new toilets, rainbarrels, etc. was well presented but the maintenance and enhancement of mature urban forest canopy is very important to water resources.

In creating the update, city staff were asked to consider setting a fixed target for the annual amount of water taken by the city. The proposed target would be the 2008 amount and would be fixed for 15 years. Any new requirements for water would be met by added efficiency and conservation measures by current users.

Having the city adopt such a fixed-amount target would be an enormous step forward toward a sustainability approach to all resource use by the city and would be highly complementary to the community energy plan since water treatment, distribution and wastewater treatment are the largest energy use by the city.

For 11 yrs (1997-2007), with increasing education and awareness, Guelph citizens have decreased their water taking. We have very good prospects of increasing our conservation and efficiencies through continuing educational awareness. Many people in Guelph understand the need to take this major step toward sustainability. However, there is some concern that city staff will not recommend this approach to council. A missing component of the water conservation strategy is the urgent need for a protective tree by-law. Everything is connected. Water, energy demand and trees.

“The sustainability of the water resources are linked inextricably with watershed forests, whether they are urban or in the landscape surrounding the urban area” (GRCA Watershed Forest Plan. Chapter 3.2 Urban Forests.)

Please take a few minutes to attend and register your support for the fixed target approach and protection and maintenance of our urban forest canopy.

When:  6.30 p.m., February 4, 2009
Cooperators Hall, River Run Centre, Woolwich St., Downtown Guelph

More information about this is on the City website, www.guelph.ca under the ‘quick links’ to ‘water conservation’ .

Visit us at www.guffguelph.ca.

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gasvbottledwater1The Unbottle It! Tour: Water as a Human Right

Fresh from her latest visit to Guelph to talk about why we should dump bottled water, Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and United Nations Advisor on Water, will be in Waterloo on Thursday January 22 2009, at the First United Church, 16 William St. W., Waterloo. She will again be accompanied by Sid Ryan, President of CUPE Ontario.

If you missed the tour in Guelph, it would be well worth going along to Waterloo. Both presentations are well worth hearing.

The goal of this visit is to build on local successes at banning bottled water from schools and municipalities, promote new bans, work toward a provincial ban, and help link bottled water to the commoditization of water in people’s minds.

According to the National Office of the Council of Canadians:

 “there are numerous reasons to hate bottled water, including environmental and health concerns, but we’re going on tour to focus on the importance of public water and seeing water as part of the commons, not a commodity. And of course we’ll talk about the need for strong provincial and federal policies to protect water and ensure access to clean water for all Canadians.”

The evening presentations start at 7.00 p.m.

The Unbottle It! Tour: Water as a Human Right
Who: Maude Barlow and Sid Ryan
When: Thursday, January 22.
Admission: FREE
Presented by The Council of Canadians and CUPE Ontario

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Here is the trailer for the new documentary movie, Blue Gold: World Water Wars featuring Maude Barlow based on the book Blue Gold by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke.

Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians and one of the world’s leading experts on the topic of water, has recently been appointed as senior adviser to the president of the Assembly of the United Nations. She will be in Guelph at the Norfolk United Church at 7 p.m. Wednesday January 14 as part of a 15-city tour of Ontario.

CUPE Ontario and the Council of Canadians co-sponsored the Unbottle It! Tour. Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario, will also be speaking.

In every corner of the globe, we are polluting, diverting, pumping, and wasting our limited supply of fresh water at an expediential level as population and technology grows. The rampant overdevelopment of agriculture, housing and industry increase the demands for fresh water well beyond the finite supply, resulting in the desertification of the earth.

Corporate giants force developing countries to privatize their water supply for profit. Wall Street investors target desalination and mass bulk water export schemes. Corrupt governments use water for economic and political gain. Military control of water emerges and a new geo-political map and power structure forms, setting the stage for world water wars.

We follow numerous worldwide examples of people fighting for their basic right to water, from court cases to violent revolutions to U.N. conventions to revised constitutions to local protests at grade schools. As Maude Barlow proclaims, “This is our revolution, this is our war”. A line is crossed as water becomes a commodity. Will we survive?

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Are There Water Wars in Our Future?
Guelph Mercury, January 12, 2009
Letter to the Editor by Brian Skerrett

Dear Editor – Is it just melodrama or sensationalism to hear about the possibilities of war over access to water?

Not according to some of the world’s leading experts in the field. The relatively minor disagreements in Guelph between groups such as the Council of Canadians or Wellington Water Watchers and Nestlé Waters Canada may be a minor glimpse of what is coming.

Milton Clark, a senior health and science adviser for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has stated: “We will in fact get into major water wars. You will see water wars coming in every way, shape or form. In the U.S. there are some leading politicians who have said the Great Lakes do in fact belong (to everyone) and all water should be nationalized — and this certainly is a concern.”

Clark also said, “Water issues that are currently emerging will develop into bitter conflicts in the not-too-distant future when those dry states become increasingly desperate.”

Ontario and Quebec have already signed an agreement that would ban bulk transfers of Great Lakes water to other jurisdictions, and they are now waiting for the eight Great Lakes states and U.S. Congress to finalize a similar deal.

One of the problems is that this ban on bulk transfers does not cover transfers of quantities of water in smaller packages, such as 12-ounce (355 millilitre) plastic bottles. And this leads to the current disputes over water-taking licences involving Nestlé’s plant in Aberfoyle.

Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians and one of the world’s leading experts on the topic of water, has recently been appointed as senior adviser to the president of the Assembly of the United Nations. She will be in Guelph at the Norfolk United Church at 7 p.m. Wednesday January 14 as part of a 15-city tour of Ontario.

CUPE Ontario and the Council of Canadians co-sponsored the Unbottle It! Tour. Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario, will also be speaking.

A special Water Information Fair will precede the speakers, at 5.30 p.m. Representatives from some of the local groups who are working to protect our water resources will attend to distribute written material and respond to questions.

Those who attend will have the opportunity to have their questions answered or their answers questioned. It promises to be an exciting event that is vital to our times.

If you are even a bit skeptical about the seriousness of this issue, check YouTube’s “Blue Gold: World Water Wars.”

Brian Skerrett, secretary, Council of Canadians, Guelph

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campus_cafe_ad_nov20_Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, will be back in Guelph on November 20th to give a presentation as part of the University of Guelph’s ‘Campus Cafe’ speaker series. She has very recently been appointed United Nations Senior Advisor on Water Issues.

Maude’s talk is entitled “The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water”.

The event will be at noon on November 20th in the Atrium of the Science Complex. Admission is free
and all are welcome.

For more details, see www.uoguelph.ca/CampusCafeTalks

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Yet another article that points out that bottled water may not be as good for you as tap water.

Its interesting to see how the companies now try to outdo each other by claiming their water to be the most pure. Marketing at its best!

Good to see that people are finally catching on to this scam.

Thanks to Dave Sills, Co-Chair from the Guelph Chapter of the Council of Canadians for sending this article on.


Is that bottle of water better than tap?: Research group says to go with tap water
Janet Conner-Knox, The Wilson Daily Times, N.C., October 21, 2008

If you’ve just started a new health regimen, and at the top of your list is to drink more water, there is news you might want to consider before you grab your favorite brand of bottled water.

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit public health and environmental research group in Washington, D.C., said it could be healthier to get water right out of the tap.

A research team from the environmental group came to nine states, including eastern North Carolina, and purchased water from grocery stores and other retailers and found 38 chemical pollutants altogether, with an average of eight contaminants in each brand.

Things like fertilizer residue and pain medication were found in some of the bottled drinking water.

The report took two years to complete and results were just published this month.

“Some of the brands had chemicals that exceed legal limits in safety standards the bottling industry has,” said Nneka Leiba, one of the researchers and an author of the report on the group’s Web site. “There were four brands contaminated with bacteria.”

Leiba said that is why EWG is asking the Federal Drug Administration to get involved and regulate water bottlers and to also enforce labeling bottles of water so consumers will know what they are getting.

“There is no way to know, at this point, if the water you get in a bottle is safe,” Leiba said. “There are ways to get around the rules that are in place.”

For instance, one method of purifying water is to use reverse osmosis. But Leiba said if the equipment is faulty, the results are the same — contaminated water. Bottlers are not regulated, so if their equipment breaks down, they can continue using bad equipment.

Leiba said they have found some water bottlers that let consumers know they used reverse osmosis but never told consumers that the water had contaminants because the equipment was broken.

Another loophole that bottlers use, she said, is if the company treats the water, they don’t have to write the source of the water on the label.

“Some people think they are drinking spring water, and it is treated tap water,” said Leiba.

She said 44 percent of bottled water is tap water any way.

During the laboratory studies, Walmart and Giant store brands were not distinguishable from tap water.

The report singled out Sam’s Club water stating it had exceeded legal limits for disinfection by-products (trihalomethanes) in some states.

The report said, “These by-products are linked to cancer and reproductive problems and form when disinfectants react with residual pollution in water.

Walmart’s corporate office issued an e-mailed statement and stands behind its bottled water and said they are puzzled by EWG’s findings.

The prepared statement said, “Both our suppliers’ tests and the tests from an additional external laboratory are not showing any amounts of chlorine or chlorine by-products. We’re disappointed that the EWG has not shared more details with us as we continue to investigate this matter.”

But said she Leiba feels stongly about the test results they got. She also said they were surprised the bottled waters looked so close to tap water, especially at the costs consumers pay for the bottled water.

Bottled water, unlike public utilities, are not required to notify their customers of the occurrence of contaminates, she said.

The U.S. EPA Web site (EPA2007b) states: “Bottled water is not necessarily safer than your tap water. Consumers who choose to purchase bottled water should carefully read its label to understand what they are buying, whether it is a better taste, of a certain method of treatment.”

But the people from LeBleu, whose water was not on the list of contaminated waters, said that customers can be assured quality every time they take a swig of LeBleu water.

David Muller, warehouse supervisor in the Wilson office, said Le Bleu uses a five-step process to make sure they are giving their customers the cleanest water in the industry.

“We filter our water twice, then we steam it,” he said. “As you know, boiled water is pure water.”

Muller said that after the steam process, they discard the other water.

Muller said they run an ultraviolet light through the water at that point.

“That UV light will kill anything that could have possibly survived the steam process,” he said.

After that, he said the Le Blue folks oxygenate the water, which means they run electricity through it. Muller said water from lots of other water companies will turn green if left out in the sun for long.

He said it’s because other companies leave live organisms in the water that begin to grow in the sunlight.

He contends that Le Bleu water will not turn green if left in the sunlight.

The study on bottled water said that even the plastic bottles are not safe.

“That’s because the chemicals in the plastic gets into the water once the water sits in the plastic container,” said Leiba.

What Leiba and other scientists in her group recommend is for consumers to drink filtered tap water instead of bottled water.

Leiba said not only is filtered tap water safer, it costs less, too.

“Americans pay an average of two-tenths of a cent per gallon to drink water from the tap,” said Leiba. “A carbon filter at the tap or in a pitcher costs a manageable 31 cents for a gallon of water. Where else can you get a gallon of water for 31 cents?”

She also recommends buying a stainless container to carry water in,instead of a plastic bottle.

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James Gordon joined us to chat about Maude Barlow’s visit to Guelph June 3 to present the documentary Flow: For Love of Water as well as the Wellington Waterwatchers AGM that takes place the same night. We also talked about the Guelph Civic League’s Spring Fling Dance Party taking place May 30.

James delighted us with three live songs, our theme “What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?”, “Scam of the Century” (about bottled water” and “Our Future’s on the Line”  (about the bylaw that prevents home owners from putting out a clothesline rather than using an electric clothes dryer).

In the second half, two students from the Community Environmental Leadership Program (CELP), Leslie Bothwell and Nathan Dyck joined us to talk about their training with Al Gore to present “An Inconvenient Truth” as well as CELPs efforts to decrease their own carbon footprint, and that of their school bus through tree-planting.

Chris Brown and the Citizens band: “Oblivion” from “Oblivion” and the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper Benefit CD “At the Barricades Volume 1”

The audio for this show is no longer available on the website.  If however you wish to hear it again, please contact us at info@royalcityrag.ca. Thank You.

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Canadian author, Council of Canadians (CoC) Chairperson and water rights activist, Maude Barlow will be returning to Guelph on June 3 to present a new film about water issues called FLOW (For Love Of Water).

The event co-sponsored by the CoC and Wellington Water Watchers will take place at Norfolk United Church in downtown Guelph. The AGM of the Wellington Waterwatchers will also take place that night too.



FLOW (For Love Of Water), a film by award-winning director Irena Salina, shows how the global water crisis affects communities around the world.

Maude Barlow is featured prominently in the film as she uncovers the corporate profiteering that drives global water business.

The documentary featured at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

The Los Angeles Times calls FLOW a “lively and engaging look at a truly serious situation.”

Maude Barlow has won several awards for her leading role in the international movement to promote the right to water including the 2005 Right Livelihood Award, commonly known as “the alternative Nobel.”

Her latest book, Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water, outlines a plan to reverse the alarming trend of water commodification which has led to environmental devastation, political turmoil and overwhelming rates of water-related deaths around the world.

It was my great pleasure to interview Maud Barlow in November 2007 on the “Blue Covenant” book tour.

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Let me banish any cynicism that may have crept in during previous postings. This program sounds like a great idea; it should be over-subscribed. This really is walking the talk!

Landscape Assessment Program
Make your landscape a healthy landscape and experience the benefits of going green!

To help Guelph residents and businesses establish low water-use and pesticide free environments the City of Guelph is now offering the Healthy Landscapes – Landscape Assessment Program.

Through this exciting new program Guelph residents and businesses can book a complimentary 30-minute consultation with a City Landscape Advisor to review their landscape and discuss potential landscape based alternatives to make the property more water efficient and naturally beautiful.

What does a Landscape Assessment visit include?

Through this program, a City of Guelph Landscape Advisor will visit your property to provide site-specific suggestions and landscape advice. The focus of the landscape assessment will be catered to you to provide suggestions regarding site landscaping alternatives and to answer questions you may have. Some typical items which may be covered through a landscape assessment site visit include:

  • Evaluation of your landscape’s current physical characteristics and growing conditions
  • Identification of non-invasive and drought tolerant plant alternatives for your property
  • Overview of proactive lawn and garden maintenance steps to limit the effects of pests and impacts of seasonal drought
  • Discussion of lawn and turf alternatives such as ground cover, shade gardening and hardscapes
  • Discussion of lawn and garden watering best practices
  • Identification of alternative watering systems such as rain barrels and drip irrigation
  • Overview of natural, safe, and effective pest control practices

Book your landscape assessment
To sign up for the Landscape Assessment Program send an e-mail to healthylandscapes@guelph.ca or call 519-822-1260 x 2153.

Please note there are a total of 500 available Landscape Assessment Program site visits to be completed throughout the spring and summer of 2008.

Bookings will be completed on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Landscape consultations will begin on Monday, May 12. Landscape assessments will be booked Monday through Thursday between 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. and will continue throughout the spring and summer until August 21, 2008.

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With all this talk about our water supply this could be a very interesting open house.

Come one, come all to the Waterworks Open House!
Saturday, May 10, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

29 Waterworks Place (located just off York Road)

Join the City of Guelph Waterworks Division for a fun and informative weekend event! Learn about what we do at Waterworks and how you can help conserve and protect our water supply.

Refreshments and door prizes!
Activities for kids – bring them along!


Here is the Press Release:

Learn more about Guelph’s water supply at Waterworks Open House, May 10

GUELPH, ON, May 7, 2008 – Ever wondered how your drinking water gets from the ground and into your glass? Or what you can do to reduce your indoor and outdoor water use? The City of Guelph Waterworks Division will answer these questions and more during its Open House on Saturday, May 10. 
Residents are invited to drop by F.M. Woods Pumping Station, located at 29 Waterworks Place (just off of York Road), between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to talk to City staff, view equipment and interactive displays, and learn more about the City’s various water based programs and services.
“Our past open houses have been well attended,” said Peter Busatto, Manager of Guelph Waterworks. “They offer a wonderful opportunity for customers to learn about Guelph’s unique, 130 year old groundwater supply and meet the dedicated professionals who provide customers with safe and secure drinking water.”
Join City staff for a fun and informative weekend event and learn more about Waterworks’ programs and services. The Open House event will also include a complementary barbecue, door prizes and activities for kids. 



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This is definitely worth reading. Took me a while to track it down. Great job, Murray Campbell!

For more information, visit this cool website from the Polaris Institute, insidethebottle.org.

Kudos to the Wellington Waterwatchers yet again.

Law On Groundwater Murky
Murray Campbell
Globe and Mail
April 24 2008

The Ontario government was draping itself in green on Earth Day for its decision to ban the sale and use of domestic pesticides but there’s another, equally profound, environmental issue on which it is struggling to find its way.

The issue is bottled water and the government’s willingness to grant permits to companies to withdraw millions of litres a day of groundwater. The McGuinty government has made progress on the issue but not enough to satisfy critics who think the bottled-water industry is getting a free ride.

The issue has heated up with a decision last week to grant the Swiss firm Nestlé a permit to extract up to 3.6 million litres of water a day near Guelph for the princely price of a $3,000 processing fee and – as of next Jan. 1 – an additional fee of $3.71 for every million litres it withdraws. That would be about $13.36 for a day’s production that could sell for nearly $4-million.

To be sure, the Ministry of the Environment placed some restrictions on a permit that has existed since 1984. It gave Nestlé a two-year renewal, rather than the five-year term that it wanted. And it is requiring the company to do extensive monitoring to ensure its extractions are not harming the environment. But a local watchdog group, Wellington Water Watchers, charged that the government is ignoring the 8,176 people who formally expressed concernthat 3.6 million litres daily is a slurp too much.

“To us, it makes no sense to have a multinational company come in, take our water for free, put it in plastic bottles, which we have to dispose of, and sell it back to us for more than the price of gasoline,” said group co-founder Marc Goldberg.

Environment Minister John Gerretsen shares the opinion although he doesn’t use such stark language. He simply doesn’t understand why people buy bottled water. “I would encourage everyone to drink water right out of your tap,” he said. “That’s what I try to do.”

Sales of bottled water are declining after years of popularity but the demand isn’t going to disappear and that will put pressure on the government to devise a tighter policy. In 2004, the bottled-water industry had 31 permits to extract about 20 million litres a day but that doesn’t count the unknown litres drawn from municipal tap-water supplies by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo for its Dasani and Aquafina brands.

“Nobody knows how much water is actually being taken,” said Tony Clarke, executive director of the Ottawa-based Polaris Institute and author of Inside the Bottle.

Mr. Gerretsen and Premier Dalton McGuinty both said yesterday that the current permit fees are too low but the government will need to deal with decisions that say governments can’t charge more than their administrative costs. It will also have to resolve the question of whether water is a commodity or a product and whether it can deny it to some users, such as bottlers, but not to others, such as brewers. “The law is definitely murky,” said Anastasia Lintner, co-ordinating lawyer at Ecojustice (formerly Sierra Legal).

Ministry officials say the $3.71 fee for a million litres may be inadequate but it’s better than the giveaway that prevailed until 2004. (Better also than a Florida decision to charge Nestlé just $230 for a permit to pump water from a state park affected by drought.)

The government is hoping technical studies of Ontario watersheds due in 18 months will provide the basis for a science-based extraction policy. Ms. Lintner believes much higher fees, which would likely dampen sales, can be framed as necessary to protect a resource.

While all this is being sorted out, would you please recycle your empty plastic bottles? That would be a start on curbing an industry that needs to be curbed.

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So Nestle still gets to take our water for a pitance but it’s still a win for the Wellington Waterwatchers (WWW). Congratulations to all involved.

With all the talk about pulling plastics that contain Bisphenol A from shelves, everyone will now need a WWW Kleen Kanteen.

Visit the Big Umbrella booth at The Guelph Farmers Market to pick one up.


This is from The Canadian Press, April 17th, 2008:

Canada must reconsider how it ‘gives away’ water to be bottled, sold: activists

Canada should not be “giving away” its water to be bottled and sold outside the country, activists said Thursday as they celebrated a partial victory against Nestle Canada Inc. and its plan to tap a southwestern Ontario community for 3.6 million litres of water every day for five years.

While Ontario’s Environment Ministry did renew Nestle’s permit to take up to 1.3 billion litres of groundwater a year from an area near Guelph, Ont., it reduced the term of the deal from five years to two. The ministry said it considered 3.6 million litres a “sustainable” amount for Nestle to take daily.

Activists said they appreciate that the Ontario government reduced the term of the permit and ordered Nestle to pay for increased monitoring and testing of its operations, but questioned the logic of letting an international conglomerate pump Canadian water out of the ground for only the cost of a $3,000 application fee.

As of Jan. 1, 2009, Ontario law will also require that companies pay $3.71 per million litres of water as a conservation fee, but that amount is still paltry, said Mark Goldberg of the Wellington Water Watchers, which spearheaded the fight against Nestle’s plans.

“This is our grandchildren’s drinking water and we are basically saying, ‘Help yourself!”‘ Goldberg said.

“There’s no cost other than a very, very small levy, and then it’s put in a plastic bottle and sold back to the public for more than the price of gasoline per litre. Can you think of any other business that gets their feedstock for free?”

The case is “probably the best example” of groundwater conflicts that could emerge in the years ahead as cities grow beyond their means and compete for resources with commercial interests, said Gord Miller, the province’s environment commissioner.

“We see increasing competition in a very small part of the landscape for groundwater uses … and there’s a lot of anxiety around that,” Miller said.

The bigger question, he said, is whether Canada should be exporting bottled water at all.

“It is illegal to export a tanker truck of water and sell it, say, in the U.S., but if you put that same amount of water in 20-litre containers and put it in a tractor-trailer, it’s completely legal to export that as bottled water.”

Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians said she considers the sale of bottled Canadian water to be a contributor to growing waste problems and the first step toward the privatization of our water resources.

“It’s creating mountains of garbage,” she said. “People don’t need bottled water – we can drink tap water. We have good, clean, regulated tap water, and I just think this is a mistake and we’ll come to regret it.”

Nestle can appeal the reduced term of its permit, and the public can seek leave to appeal if it doesn’t agree with the government’s decision.

Nestle’s permit application was posted on the provincial Environmental Bill of Rights registry last April and received more than 6,000 comments on the company’s plans, which the ministry called a “significant response.”

Goldberg said he has mixed feelings about the Nestle permit, but is encouraged that his group was able to influence the government’s decision.

“We’re delighted because instead of granting a permit for five years, the ministry gave Nestle a permit for two years, so that’s three years of water-taking at 3.6 million litres a day that we’re not giving away of a public resource,” he said. “That’s a major victory.”

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Magee McGuire from Guelph Wellington Health Coalition joined us to talk about the creeping privatization of healthcare. In particular she focused on Ontario Health Coalition‘s Urgent Action Alert Update to stop the privatization of homecare. A series of Town Hall meetings have been taking place across the province including one at the Evergreen Centre on Woolwich St in Guelph on March 25, 2008.

“Will Healthcare Funding Go Where It’s Needed” by Magee McGuire, Guelph Mercury, April 2, 2008

Diane and I also discussed the OPIRG-Guelph panel discussion on “Healthy Water, Healthy Growth, Healthy Guelph” that took place on March 30th at the Arboretum Centre at the University of Guelph, the World Water Day celebration in George’s Square on March 29th 2008 and Earth Hour worldwide turn-off that took place at 8.00 p.m., March 29, 2008.

Two Hours Traffic, “Heroes of the Sidewalk” from “Little Jabs”.
Steve Forbert, “Get Well Soon” from “The Best Of, What Kinda Guy?”.
Chenille Sisters, “The Druggist” from “May I Suggest?”.

The audio for this show is no longer available on the website.  If however you wish to hear it again, please contact us at info@royalcityrag.ca. Thank You.

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