Nestlé is allowed to pump and package 1.13 million litres
of groundwater per day in Hillsburgh in Wellington County [free of
charge - another reason not to buy bottled water] under a
Ministry of the Environment Permit To Take Water. The MOE put
restrictions on Nestle's right to take the water in drought
conditions, and Nestle appealed the conditions.
Wellington Water Watchers, Ecojustice and the
Canadians intervened in the appeal to support the water
taking restrictions, in light of the public interest in ground and
surface water. Then, in February, Nestlé announced it
had persuaded the Ministry to remove the mandatory reductions from
its permit to take water. This agreement was successfully
challenged before the Environmental Review Tribunal of Ontario by
Ecojustice and the community groups. In August, the Tribunal
ruled that the settlement agreement between Nestlé and the
Ministry was not in the public interest and that the original
appeal should proceed to a full hearing.
Instead, Nestle abandoned its appeal, and accepted the
restrictions in its original permit that require it to reduce its
water takings during drought conditions. On September 17,
Nestlé announced that it was withdrawing its
appeal. On October 8, the Environmental Review Tribunal accepted
Nestle's withdrawal, and closed the file.
"Nestlé's water takings and the lack of
groundwater regulation in British Columbia have come under public
scrutiny over the last couple of months. The company withdraws up
to 265 million litres a year for free from a well in Hope, B.C.
The movement to promote the human right to water and public
water services recently spread to Switzerland where Nestlé
is headquartered. Bern, Switzerland recently became the first Blue
Community outside of Canada. The Blue Communities Project, launched
by the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Union of Public
Employees, designates municipalities Blue Communities when
municipal governments pass resolutions to ban bottled water from
municipal facilities, recognize water as a human right to water and
promote public not-for-profit water and sanitation services.
Wellington Water Watchers, Ecojustice and the Council of
Canadians have sent a letter to the Minister of the
Environment urging reforms to Ontario laws and policies
needed to adequately protect Ontario's rivers, lakes and
groundwater. The groups' recommendations include that the
Ministry prioritize water uses, remove barriers to declaring a
Level 3 drought and conduct cumulative impact assessments of water
takings. Although the need for some of these reforms has been
documented in previous studies, this case has again demonstrated
the urgency of this need.
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Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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