Tag Archives: Council of Canadians

SUCCESS IN BATTLE WITH NESTLE OVER WATER RIGHTS!

PARLIAMENT

NESTLE RED X“Battle with Nestle over water affects Pontiac” – Published in The LowDown Online, by William Amos and Carissa Wong November 27, 2013

WATER CHART

Everyone needs water. Life exists because of it. In Canada, we expect water to be everywhere, accessible and clean. But the reality is that less than one per cent of the world’s freshwater is readily accessible for direct human use.

ONTARO MAPWe also expect our governments to protect this resource and put a community’s need for drinking water ahead of a corporation’s desire to bottle and sell water for profit. But sometimes, governmental priorities get confused, as they did recently in Ontario.

Every day, Ontario permits Nestle Canada Inc. to take 1.13 million litres of water, which it then bottles and sells, from an aquifer in Wellington County near Guelph. GUELPH AQUIFERLast year, the Ontario government — through the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) — renewed the permit on the condition that Nestle would take less water from the aquifer during serious droughts. But Nestle appealed these mandatory restrictions to the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal, which has jurisdiction to determine disputes over groundwater permits. Then the MOE tried to cut a settlement deal with Nestle.

ENVIRO LAW CLINICThe deal would have allowed Nestle to avoid the mandatory drought restrictions. But in February, pro bono lawyers at Ecojustice challenged the deal on behalf of Wellington Water Watchers and Council of Canadians.

We filed a legal submission with the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal, arguing that the proposed settlement was bad for the province and deserved closer scrutiny. Last month, the Tribunal agreed with our clients. It concluded that the proposed settlement deal was not in the public interest and was inconsistent with the Ontario Water Resources Act. The Tribunal ordered a full hearing so that the appropriateness of the drought-based restrictions could be thoroughly examined.  But recently, as a result of the Tribunal’s decision to order a hearing, Nestle withdrew its appeal of the mandatory drought restrictions. The deal is dead.

GUELPH GROUNDWATERSo Nestle must comply with the original permit conditions, reducing the amount of groundwater it takes from Wellington County during drought. Because these non-profit community groups took action, Nestle must leave more water for other users (in dry times) and the government must ensure they live up to that promise.       

Federal, provincial and municipal governments are each responsible, to the extent of their jurisdictions, for managing groundwater resources. But that’s not always what happens. Sometimes well-organized, dedicated members of the public must use the legal system to hold government accountable.

GUELPH WATERSHEDOur watersheds are vulnerable when governments roll out the red carpet for private companies who bristle at mandatory restrictions on their water takings.

In this case, the MOE had it right in the first place — drought-based restrictions should be applied to all future water takings for bottle water enterprises. All Ontarians, not just those who drink water from a well, need to be protected against those who would cut deals that limit the government’s ability to safeguard our shared water supplies. The same approach should apply in Quebec.

PONTIACThe example from Wellington County resonates throughout Canada. It hits home to those of us living in the Pontiac who depend on well-water for our basic needs. When making decisions about the water that sustains our communities, the government’s job is to put the greater public interest first.

Ed. note: William Amos is a Chelsea resident and is the Director of the Ecojustice Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Ottawa. Carissa Wong is an articling student at Ecojustice.

NESTLE ROAD SIGNThe following are my thoughts and not part of this article:
I would think that the province of B.C. should be taking a very close look at this  outcome for many like Sheila Muxlow, pictured outside Nestle’s bottling plant near Hope, B.C. on Aug. 12, 2013, who have concerns about Nestle withdrawing millions of litres of water without payment.  According to the provincial Ministry of Environment, “B.C. is the only jurisdiction in Canada that doesn’t regulate groundwater use.”

http://www.lowdownonline.com/battle-with-nestle-over-water-affects-pontiac/

Interesting related link ~

https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/blog_categories/bottled-water/blogs/

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STOP NESTLE’S FREE EXTRACTION OF BC WATER

BC GROUNDWATER

Water is our most precious resource.  It nourishes us, helps grow our food, and keeps our cities and forests clean.  British Columbia is endowed with some of the best water resources in the world.

So why, instead of protecting our water, are we letting companies have it for free?

Today, news broke that Nestle, one of the world’s largest food and water companies, has been bottling upwards of 265 million liters of British Columbia water EVERY YEAR…for nothing.  That is a small lake each year, gone, sold for corporate profit.

This water belongs to the citizens or people of British Columbia, and is NOT meant to be exploited by a Corporation for profit.  Call on the BC Environmental Ministry and Provincial Government to immediately change the law and force Nestle to pay a fair price for the water it sells every year.  This can’t stand.

As of August 22, 2013 4:55 p.m. we have 5,412 signatures, help us get to 10,000.

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION by clicking on the link below – MANY THANKS!!!

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/328/443/296/stop-nestles-free-extraction-of-bc-water/

NESTLE SIGNHere’s an excellent article on this topic ~

WATER SHOULD BE A ‘PUBLIC TRUST’…

http://www.theprovince.com/news/Wild+West+groundwater+Billion+dollar+company+extracting+drinking+water+free/8785227/story.html

CANADA’S GREAT LAKES ARE IN TROUBLE

CANADA’S GREAT LAKES ARE IN TROUBLE

The following excerpts are taken from “Our Great Lakes Commons: A Peoples Plan to Protect the Great Lakes Forever”, by Maude Barlow, National Chairperson, Council of Canadians.  I’ve also included some information from Environment Canada.

I encourage you to watch the video, “Incredible by Any Measure…the Great Lakes”, created by The Nature Conservancy, that I’ve placed at the end of this blog – a wealth of information and incredible cinematography.

The Great Lakes of North America form the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world, holding more than 20 per cent of the world’s surface freshwater and 95 per cent of North America’s. Add to this the groundwater underlying and feeding the Great Lakes or its tribu­tary streams and lakes, and the percentage is closer to 25 and 97 per cent respectively. The Lakes and the St. Lawrence River, which is their primary flow outlet to the Atlantic Ocean, are bordered by two Canadian provinces: Ontario and Quebec, and eight U.S. states…

The Great Lakes have a unique biodiversity and are home to more than 3,500 species of plants and animals. They were formed over 20,000 years ago when the last glacier continental ice sheet retreated. The Great Lakes provide life and livelihood to more than 40 million people and are the economic centre at the heart of the continent. They are, however, under serious threat from a wide variety of demands and sources… There is a misconception that the Great Lakes replenish themselves each year with rainwater. This is not true.

. . . we have built our economic and development policies based on a human-centric model and assumed that nature would never fail to provide, or that, where it does fail, technology will save the day. We have polluted, diverted and mismanaged the planet’s finite supplies of water to the point that they are now dangerously close to collapse in many parts of the world . . . The waters of the Great Lakes are no exception to this rule.

 The Great Lakes – some vital statistics

The five Great Lakes  hold one-fifth of the fresh water on the earth’s surface and 80 percent of the lake and river water in North America. The Great Lakes basin, including the water and land area that drains into the lakes, covers 766,000 square kilometres (295,700 square miles). The shoreline of the five Great Lakes and the connecting rivers stretches for 17,000 kilometres (10,200 miles), long enough to reach nearly halfway around the world. The water of the Great Lakes flows from the middle of the continent to the Atlantic Ocean.  The lakes contain the world’s largest system of freshwater islands, some of which are refuges for rare and endangered species. About five million people fish in the Great Lakes. Close to one million boats, mainly pleasure craft operate on the Great Lakes.

A few ways we can help keep the environment and wildlife species of our Great Lakes safe.

Keep hazardous materials out of the water. Purchase products that are produced in ways that have a low impact on the environment. Use safe disposal methods for insect and weed killers, paints, solvents, used motor oil, and other auto fluids. Take them to hazardous waste centres for disposal. Take used motor oil to a service station for recycling. Take medicines to a pharmacy for safe disposal. Keep litter, pet waste, leaves, and debris out of street gutters and storm drains. Avoid hosing dirt into storm sewers because it can reduce flow in them and be carried into lakes and rivers. Use low-phosphate or phosphate-free detergents. Use natural pest-control methods. Disconnect downspouts and direct rainwater into a barrel or onto your lawn or garden. Use separate stones and porous materials instead of concrete for walkways, driveways, and patios so that water will seep into the ground rather than draining into the sewer systems. Support car washes that treat or recycle their wastewater and dry cleaners that are using new “green” processes.

 Video – “Incredible by Any Measure…the Great Lakes”

 Links –

http://onthecommons.org/sites/default/files/GreatLakes-Final-Mar2011(2).pdf

http://www.ec.gc.ca/media_archive/press/2005/050526_b_e.htm

EARTH DAY: TAKE IT UP OTTAWA

Earth Day – Let’s Do Our Part

Excerpts from Earth Day: Take it up – Patrick Langston, the Ottawa Citizen April 20, 2012

Earth Day’s call for collection action aims to reduce our carbon footprint on the planet

…The climate is warming, wildlife habitats are vanishing, resources – from water to oil – are being squandered…“It’s a numbers game: It’s not the contribution one person makes; it’s the collective action. “The only control we ultimately have is over our own actions. (The situation) is scary, but it’s not hopeless,”  – Jed Goldberg, president of Earth Day Canada. None of which means that industry and government are off the hook. Large-scale moves, like controlling environmental damage from resource extraction, for example, are critical.

But individual initiatives can make a huge difference and we’ve come up with 10 that you can implement easily, just in time for tomorrow’s Earth Day…earthday.ca/takeitup. While you’re there, sign up for contest prizes.

Chillin’ out

Get paid up to $400 and reduce the strain on our electricity system while chilling out this summer. ­Hydro Ottawa/Ontario Power Authority’s Heating & Cooling ­Incentive program reimburses you $250 for replacing an existing ­central air conditioning system with an Energy Star-rated one (energy efficiency rating of at least 14.5 SEER and 12 EER) and $400 for a Tier 2 system (minimum 15 SEER and 12.5 EER). There’s also $250 available for upgrading your furnace. Info: 1-877-797-9473, hydroottawa.com/residential/saveonenergy/programs-and-incentives/heating-and-cooling

Green catering

Got a wedding or family reunion? Hire a catering service with an environmental conscience. In Ottawa, The Whalesbone, for example, says it sources fish and seafood from producers using sustainable harvesting techniques (613-266-6743, thewhalesbonecatering.com). The Westin Hotel’s sustainable business meeting service includes green elements, like reusable dishes and cutlery and locally sourced food: 613-560-7000, www.thewestinottawa.com/sustainablemeetings

Go Energy Star

Switching to energy-efficient appliances can reduce energy consumption, saving householders about 30 per cent a year, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Using an Energy Star clothes washer during off-peak hours (7 p.m. to 7 a.m.) will save roughly $700 in electricity bills over 14 years. That washer will also use 194,000 fewer litres of valuable water during its lifetime compared to a conventional washer.

The Green, Green Grass … or Not

An inefficient gas-powered lawnmower produces as many emissions as driving a typical car 550 kilometres, says the Clean Air Foundation. Options: Go longer between cuts; for smaller areas, switch to a manual lawnmower or a solar-powered model; replace some of your lawn with native plants. As to that leaf blower, don’t even think about buying it — invest instead in an old-fashioned, muscle-building rake and push broom.

Get Off the Bottle

Just say no to bottled water. Not only is tap water in Canada generally safe, but producing and transporting bottled water consumes vast amounts of resources and energy: three to five litres of water, for instance, are needed to produce a one-litre bottle of water, according to the Council of Canadians. Here’s the clincher: a CTV report in 2006 found that a litre of bottled water costs about 3,000 times as much as the same amount of tap water.

Power Bars

Costing as little as $5.77 at Canadian Tire, a power bar can reduce energy use and your hydro bill by shutting off power to televisions, stereos and other electrical devices when they’re not in use. Devices like these typically have an “always-on” feature to power their digital clocks and instant-on capability. That feature can account for five to 10 per cent of a household’s annual electricity usage.

Being a Drip

A drip irrigation system that delivers life-giving water directly to the roots of your vegetables or flowers is about 90-per-cent efficient compared to roughly 60 per cent for an overhead sprinkler, which allows a lot of evaporation – available at Lee Valley Tools starting at less than $50. Just remember that drip systems can clog if the water’s not filtered and the lines not maintained.

Not Just for Fries

To banish food-borne pathogenic bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella, from your home, try vinegar instead of pricey store-bought cleansers. That’s one of multiple tips on Toronto green author and columnist Adria Vasil’s website ecoholic.ca. Vasil’s new book, Ecoholic Body, is one of the prizes in the Take It Up for Earth Day contest. It brims with eco-conscious tips on everything from shampoos to clothing.

Avoid the Drive-thru

Next time you need a Tim Horton’s coffee, park your car and walk into the restaurant instead of joining the drive-thru queue. Allowing a car to idle more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and produces more exhaust than restarting it, according to Natural Resources Canada. Besides, walking will burn up some of the calories in that double-double.

Electronic Waste

Slipping that burnt-out cell phone into the garbage bag won’t doom Mother Earth, but multiply that action by billions of humans with billions of electronic devices and that’s a lot of valuable materials — some of them toxic – going into landfills. Electronics recycling opportunities abound from municipal e-waste drop-off events to partners in the City of Ottawa’s Take It Back program (ottawa.ca/cgi-bin/search/recycle/q.pl?q=&lang=en). Take It Back includes dozens of other products from engine oil containers to bicycle parts.

Links –

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/Earth+Take/6491271/story.html
www.ottawacitizen.com/life/Earth+Take/6491271/story.html#ixzz1shUrCaPV

WATER DAY CANADA 2012

MAKE A SPLASH ON WORLD WATER DAY!

March 22 is World Water Day, and to mark this day, the Council of Canadians is encouraging chapters to take action for water in their community. As you know, there are few things more important than clean, safe water.

But corporate control of drinking water, the growth of the bottled water industry, pollution from mining companies and fracking projects,

and water shortages from droughts and over-extractions are all part of a growing global water crisis.

In Canada, our government has failed to safeguard our water by refusing to implement a National Water Policy to protect and conserve it.

The Canadian government also shamefully ignores the human right to water and sanitation, which was recognized by the United Nations in July 2010.

But you can make a difference. The fight for public water is happening now. Across Canada people are rejecting the co-modification and privatization of water, and are raising awareness of the importance of clean, safe accessible public water for all.

Join us in marking the importance of World Water Day by organizing a water-themed event in your community. Be sure to let us know about your World Water Day activities so we can highlight them on our website. E-mail your event details to webmaster@canadians.org. And don’t forget to check out our resources and publications to help inform people and raise awareness.

Here are some ideas for how you can take action on World Water Day:

1) Take action for the right to water.

On July 28, 2010, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly agreed to a resolution declaring the human right to “safe and clean drinking water and sanitation.” Appallingly, the Canadian government abstained from the vote even though there are many communities across Canada, including First Nations, which do not have access to clean, safe water. Take action and help us apply the political pressure needed to make the right to water and sanitation a reality in Canada!

•Join us in putting pressure on the federal government. Download a copy of the “Appeal to Parliamentarians on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation” letter and our Parliamentarian Pledge on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation. Arrange a meeting with your elected Member of Parliament and ask them to sign the pledge. Be sure to send a copy to inquiries@canadians.org so we can add your MP’s name to a list of supportive politicians on our website.

•Visit your local city council and ask them to pass a resolution supporting the right to water. Check out page 5 of our Blue Communities Project booklet for more information and a sample resolution.

2) Say “Don’t frack our water!”

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” is a drilling technique used to extract natural gas from hard to access sources. Massive amounts of water mixed with chemicals and sand are injected at a high rate of pressure into rock formations. The process has been known to contaminate nearby drinking water sources, and concerns have been raised about the safety of the contaminated wastewater from the projects. There are many ways you can help protect our water from fracking:

•Find out if there is a fracking operation in your community and send us an e-mail so we can add it to our “Fracker Tracker,” a web tool that maps frocking projects across the country.

•Help raise awareness by setting up an information booth in your community.

•Write a letter to the editor of your local paper.

•Visit your local council and convince politicians to protect water by passing a municipal resolution that puts a moratorium on fracking.

•Garner public support by getting signatures on a “Don’t Frack Our Water” petition.

3) Call for a bottled water ban in your community.

More than 60 communities across Canada have said “no” to bottled water. Canada has one of the best drinking water systems in the world, but the bottled water industry has worked hard to undermine our faith in public water. The industry sells water – what should be a shared public resource – for huge profits. Producing and transporting bottled water requires large amounts of fossil fuels, and plastic water bottles continue to end up by the millions in local landfills. Take a stand against bottled water in your community by:

•Call on your municipal council to ban bottled water in public places. For more information and a sample resolution, see page 9 of our Blue Communities Project Guide.

•Get creative and design a public display that demonstrates how many empty water bottles end up in landfills each year.

•Click here to read more about how we can all “Unbottle it!”

TAKE THE TAP WATER PLEDGE:

http://canadians.org/water/issues/World_Water_Day/petition/index.php

 

The Council of Canadians is also a partner in the Coalition for Bottled Water-Free Communities, which is encouraging school boards, organizations and people across Canada to go bottled water free on March 15. Go here to join the campaign.

4) Be a part of the fight against water privatization at the World Water Forum.

The World Water Forum (WWF) claims to be a democratic, multi-stakeholder platform for governments, civil society, academics and industry on global water issues, but past forums have shown that in fact, they are dominated by a handful of multinational food and water corporations with a strong agenda of privatization and corporate control of water.

The Council of Canadians has been challenging World Water Forum agendas for more than 12 years. We will be at the upcoming World Water Forum March 12-17 in Marseille, France, and the Alternative World Water Forum (in French, Forum Alternative Mondial de l’Eau, or FAME), which will take place on March 14-17, 2012, speaking out against the efforts of corporations and governments to privatize water. Visit our World Water Forum webpage to find out more.

5) Make a splash in the media.

Writing a letter to the editor or opinion column for your community newspaper is a great way to share information about local water issues. Whether it’s exposing water privatization, pollution, or encouraging people to dump bottled water in favour of public tap water, help raise awareness by getting water issues in the news on World Water Day.

Join us on March 22 and we can all make a difference for water in our communities!