By Mike Balkwill, Wellington Water Watchers
I am writing with an update on the Say No To Nestlé campaign of the Wellington Water Watchers.
When I last wrote in this blog I said we were expecting that any day Nestlé’s would applications to renew their permits in Aberfoyle and Hillsburgh would be posted online by the Ministry of the Environment Conservation and Parks. Once the applications are posted a 90 day online consultation begins.
While waiting for these renewal applications, I have been contacting people in other communities who also oppose Nestlé taking and bottling water in their communities.
Recently I visited Nickie Sekera and others with Community Water Justice in Maine. Nestlé has 10 wells, and 3 bottling plants in Maine – and Nestlé wants more wells and bottling plants! Nestlé takes 4 billion litres of water per year. I learned Nestlé’s own evidence shows that aquifer levels are dropping – yet they continue to pump.
One of the problems that communities in Maine face is that the operation of water systems is privatized. Nestlé can enter into a contract with a private water authority, shielding it from legal intervention. One community took a legal case all the way to the Maine Supreme Court and lost – because the court said the contract to take water was between two private entities – Nestlé and the Town’s privatized water corporation.
You may have also heard that Nestlé wants to take water from the Ginnie Springs, part of the Sante Fe River in Florida (See here). The fragile river, which is already officially deemed to be “in recovery” by the Suwannee River water management district after years of earlier over-pumping, cannot sustain such a large draw – a claim Nestlé vehemently denies. In both these communities there is evidence the aquifers are being depleted and yet Nestlé carries on pumping.
It is clear from what to me that Nestlé can’t be trusted to protect the public interest.
Merrilee Jipson with the Our Santa Fe River is leading the fight against Nestlé in Florida and Nickie Sekera from Maine have agreed to visit Guelph on November 14th to talk at a public event about their experience with Nestlé. They will be joined by Bernhard and Rene Lise Schmitt from Vittel and Franklin Frederick of Switzerland.
The event will be held at Trinity United Church, 400 Stevenson St. North, Guelph. Doors open 6:30. &pm start. You can RSVP for the event here. The event will also be livestreamed in Facebook.
I hope you can join us in person or online for this important event on November 14th.