ELORA – Those opposed to Nestlé Waters' plans to increase its water taking from a well just outside of Elora aren’t going to let the issue fade.
Roughly 100 people showed up Sunday afternoon, gathering at a farm on Middlebrook Road for a rally then marching to the Middlebrook Well where Nestlé hopes to eventually start pumping bottled water.
“This is a really pinnacle and important day. I think it’s one of the most important days of the campaign,” said Mike Nagy, chairperson of the Wellington Water Watchers who organized the event.
“I cannot emphasize enough that the planet is in trouble. The planet is asking for help,” Nagy said.
Nagy accused Nestlé of “morphing themselves” into the water stewards of the world.
“They’re not looking to scale down their industry. They’ll always want more. And this well down the road represents wanting more. It’s adding a third well to their portfolio of two wells, as if 4.7 million litres a day isn’t enough, they want another 1.6 million litres a day.”
Nestlé also has wells in Aberfoyle and Hillsburgh.
“I say that’s too much. I say one litre is too much,” Nagy said.
There is currently a two-year moratorium in the province on new water taking permits as it assesses and studies the water taking issue.
“This is a water grab, and we’re saying ‘no more’ to these water grabs,” Nagy said.
Local Save Our Water member Amy Corner said that with Centre Wellington slated to double its population in the next 25 years, meaning the township must protect its water resources for its future residents.
“If Nestlé get the chance to pump water… they will pump the equivalent of the amount of water that three wells supply us daily. That’s the reality, that’s a lot of water,” Corner said.
“It is absolutely necessary that starting today we save our water, and it is absolutely necessary that we san ‘no’ to Nestlé,” Corner said.
Following speeches at the gathering spot, and a skit by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Aquifers, the people marched down Middlebrook Road to the site of the well that Nestlé purchased last year.
Representatives from Nestlé were on site at the well location as marchers arrived and tied blue ribbons to the fence and held a brief rally at the gates.
Nestlé later provided a written statement, saying that they are “committed to engaging in constructive and transparent dialogue when it comes to sustainable water management practices.”
“We believe that the community always comes first, and there is nothing more important to us than working with our communities to manage and protect water,” said the written statement.
OPP officers were also on hand, closing off the road for a brief time to make it safer for the marchers and watching the activities from a distance.