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Keeping the water issue on the front burner (7 photos)

Save Our Water rally stresses the need for bottled water to be an issue in the provincial election next June

The moratorium on new permits for the bottled water industry may have moved the issue to the back burner. But Guelph’s highly-motivated anti-bottled water movement plans on making sure it doesn’t stay there.

Roughly 50 people turned out Friday for a Save Our Water rally in Downtown Guelph organized by Wellington Water Watchers and Save Our Water.

They rallied at St.George’s Square before moving on to the Woolwich Street office of Guelph MPP Liz Sandals, where more speeches were hears. A box containing postcards of support was delivered to Sandals’ staff.

Sandals was not at her office due to a prior engagement.

The only local politician attending Friday's rally was Ontario Green Party leader and local candidate Mike Schreiner.

“It’s essential to make this an election issue,” said Arlene Slocombe of Wellington Water Watchers.

“That’s part of why we are doing this, to try and make sure it is on the radar for the election.”

The province has placed a moratorium on new water taking permits, although existing permits like the ones used by Nestle Waters in Hillsburgh and Aberfoyle continue.

The moratorium is in place until January 2019, if no further decisions are made.

“Existing and ongoing permits have been given indefinite extensions during this decision time. They’re still pumping as normal without any consultation or any public input.”

“We are grateful for the moratorium as a positive, but in another respect it could just have deferred any further talk about it and we don’t want a deferral. We want to make sure it’s on the ballot.”

The Wellington Water Watchers have four demands:

  • denying Nestle Waters the ability to take water in Wellington County
  • phase out the bottled water industry in the next 10 years
  • respect and consult Indigenous communities
  • ensure the public ownership and control of water.