rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Action alert: Stop Nestle Canada's request for a 10-year water permit in Guelph!

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Nestlé Waters Canada has applied to renew its permit to withdraw water in Aberfoyle, Ontario. It has requested an unprecedented 10-year extension on its current permit of up to 3.6 million litres per day, an equivalent of nearly one and a half Olympic size swimming pools per day and a total of up to 1.314 billion litres per year.

Bottled water has harmful impacts on our environment. With climate change and Canada's dwindling water sources, we need to preserve our water sources for our use and future generations use. Water is a human right, global commons and public trust. Water should not be used for private gain.

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment is providing the public with an opportunity to comment on Nestlé's application. An approval of a 10-year extension by the Ministry of the Environment would be not only shortsighted but also irresponsible given the challenges of climate change and Canada's dwindling water sources. The deadline for public comments is Saturday, March 5th, 2011. We urge you to request a limit on Nestlé's application by submitting your comments here.

In 2008, due to the Wellington Water Watchers and efforts of the Guelph Chapter and other activists, Nestlé's permit was limited from five to two years and Nestlé's was required to conduct extensive monitoring on the impact of their water taking. For more info click here.

Please feel free to use the points below and/or include your own comments. We encourage you to visit the Wellington Water Watchers website for additional points, news and upcoming events.

Key points:

-Bottled water has harmful impacts on our environment. In some communities, up to 80% of single-use plastic bottles end up in landfills. It also takes three times as much water to make the bottle as it does to fill it. It is a myth that bottled water is a healthier option. According to the Polaris Institute, water bottling plants are inspected on average only once every three years compared to some cities that test their water several times a day.

-Canada needs to protect its existing water sources. Although Canada holds nearly 20% of the world's freshwater, only 1% of our water is renewable, or replenished by rain or snowfall every year. A recent Statistics Canada study showed that renewable water in southern Canada has declined 8.5% since 1971 with an annual loss "equivalent to the water contained in 1.4 million Olympic-size swimming pools." It is unclear how climate change and drought will affect Guelph's water supply in the coming years. The Ministry should limit Nestlé's water permit in order to protect current and future generation's water supplies.

-The amount of groundwater in the Grand River watershed is not known. Allowing large-volume water taking is like writing blank cheques on a bank account with an unknown balance.

-There are concerns that water taking is harming Mill Creek. There are no brook trout in the stretch of creek that runs beside the bottling plant, but there are trout in the rest of the creek. Is so much water being taken that it is preventing spring water from upwelling into the stream-bed? Until this is resolved, a precautionary approach should be taken.

-Water is a global commons, public trust and human right. Nestlé should not be permitted to profit from our water commons, something that belongs to us all. Under the Public Trust Doctrine, governments should make decisions that sustain our natural resources for the long-term use and enjoyment of the entire populace, not just the privileged who can buy inequitable access.

            Thank you for reading this story…

            More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

            rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

            So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

            And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

            Comments

            We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

            Do

            • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
            • Add context and background.
            • Report typos and logical fallacies.
            • Be respectful.
            • Respect copyright - link to articles.
            • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

            Don't

            • Use oppressive/offensive language.
            • Libel or defame.
            • Bully or troll.
            • Post spam.
            • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.