Ottawa/Queen's Park




We have an opportunity right now to stop the Ontario government from giving away precious groundwater to billionaires.

Nestlé’s buyer, Triton, is seeking permission to extract up to 4.7 million litres of groundwater per day from two wells in Wellington County, Ontario, for the next ten years.

Triton bought the Erin (Hillsburgh) and Puslinch (Aberfoyle) wells earlier this year, as part of a $4.3 billion (USD) deal for all of Nestlé’s North American bottled water assets.

Right now, most of southern Ontario – including Wellington County – is under a Stage 1 drought advisory, having received less than half of the rain expected in May. We expect more droughts in the future because of climate change and one of the expected impacts is a reduction in groundwater levels.

Groundwater resources are finite and vulnerable. And it’s time to stop handing out permits that allow them to be extracted and sold.

The Ontario government must reject entirely Triton’s permit request for the smaller Erin well, which was used at only 6% of its permitted limit last year. Triton doesn’t need water from this well to maintain its operations, and it would be especially irresponsible to renew the permit for an unprecedented ten years, instead of the usual five.

If the Ford government renews the Erin permit, it will greatly increase the resale value of that property, effectively turning 4 billion litres of groundwater into a commodity.

Any renewal of the permit for Triton’s main well in Puslinch must be done as part of a permanent phaseout. Demand for bottled water has fallen significantly as more consumers become aware of its environmental impacts. Over the last five years, there has been a 25% decline in water drawn from the Puslinch well.

Now is the time to phase out bottled water permits in Ontario and it should start with Triton’s Puslinch well.

Meanwhile, neither Triton nor the Ontario government have obtained First Nations consent for taking the water, as required by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Six Nations Band Council (elected leaders), the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council (traditional leaders), the Chiefs of Ontario, and the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians have all publicly opposed permits to take water for bottling.

The Ontario government is accepting comments from the public regarding this permit renewal until June 22.Take a moment and tell the Ford government that this is the perfect time to stop handing out permits that allow for the extraction and sale of vulnerable groundwater.

source: Council of Canadians





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