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Wellington Water Watchers Say No to Bottled Water

Over 4.7 million litres of water per day is pumped from wells located in Aberfoyle and Hillsburgh. If Nestle gets its way a proposed new well in Middlebrook will increase water extraction to 6.4 million litres per day.

By Doreen Nicoll
Published March 31, 2017

Most people know the Bermuda Triangle, also called the Devil's Triangle. It's a section of the North Atlantic Ocean where aircraft and ships have apparently disappeared under very mysterious circumstances.

Well, it's time people learn about the Nestle Triangle located in Wellington County, Ontario. Over 4.7 million litres of water per day is pumped from wells located in Aberfoyle and Hillsburgh. But, if Nestle gets its way a proposed new well in Middlebrook will increase water extraction to 6.4 million litres per day and that's cause for concern.

On Wednesday, April 5, the Wellington Water Watchers (WWW) is hosting a fundraising event at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. WWW has enlisted the help of Caroline Brooks from the Good Lovelies, Ben Whiteley, and Molly Johnson.

These fabulous Canadian musicians will perform as part of the WWW Say No to Nestle campaign. Doors open at 6:30 PM with the show happening from 7 to 9 PM. Tickets are $20. Snacks and a cash bar will be available.

WWW is using the evening's festivities to officially announce Waterstock, a celebration of water for life not profit, featuring celebrity chefs, musicians, artists, local wineries and breweries, and plenty of free, clean, locally sourced water available from onsite taps and fountains. Waterstock will be celebrated at Bela Farm in Hillsburgh, Ontario from noon to 5 pm. on Sunday, June 11th.

WWW formed ten years ago in Guelph, the largest Canadian city completely reliant on groundwater for its water supply. The Nestle bottling plant in Aberfoyle and the City of Guelph both draw their water from the same aquifer. Nestle currently draws 3.6 million litres per day from its well in Aberfoyle.

According to Mike Nagy, Chair of WWW, "Since the beginning time we have not produced one more molecule of water and we never will. So, every time we harm our water we are painting ourselves into a corner. We can't afford to take water for granted anymore."

In addition to putting the water supply of cities and towns in jeopardy, Nestle's bottling facilities have a huge ecological and carbon footprint.

It takes two bottles of water and a quarter bottle of oil to produce one bottle of bottled water. This doesn't include the energy used for additional packaging, the army of trucks need to transport the bottled water to stores, the vehicles used to drive cases of water to individual homes, or disposal of the empty bottles.

Canadians were sold an ideal that bottled water is superior to the water that comes from their taps and water fountains. Bottled water is sometimes held up as a luxury item.

Nagy disagrees with this view, stating instead, "It's symbolic of the inequalities that exist in Canada and throughout the world. The poor, vulnerable, and marginalized are excluded from the picture. Water is a basic human right and that's why we need to speak out. We are fighting for clean water for everyone in the world."

Outdated laws made the current situation in Ontario possible. A change in regulations over 30 years ago provided a loop hole that enabled water bottling and since neither Canada nor the province has a water policy corporations have been able to expand their production.

WWW has established the Water for Life, Not Profit Program which calls on the Ontario government to:

Please endorse the Water for Life, not Profit Program and plan to attend these empowering celebrations that will mark a watershed moment in the movement to protect Ontario's water.

Doreen Nicoll is a feminist and a member of several community organizations working diligently to end poverty, hunger and gendered violence.

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