Nestle seeking 10-year renewal of Aberfoyle water-taking permit
Within the next few months, Nestle’s permit to take water from the Aberfoyle area will expire.
The bottled water giant is seeking a 10-year renewal of that permit, which currently allows them to take about 2,500 litres of water per minute from the Grand River watershed.
Adreanne Simard, the company’s natural resources manager, says Nestle typically only takes in about 60 per cent of that volume, and won’t be seeking to increase its cap.
She says the current intake represents about 0.6 per cent of all water drawn from the watershed.
“The demand is increasing for us, and we want to supply that to the consumer – but we also want to maintain the health of the aquafer,” she said in an interview.
Environmental advocacy groups like the Wellington Water Watchers have long opposed the bottled water industry.
“We think it’s a poor use of public water,” said Mike Nagy of the Wellington Water Watchers.
“We’re not necessarily trying to stop this renewal, but there are lots of questions about this aquifer.”
Nestle has operated its plant in the Aberfoyle area since 2000.
The company has 80 monitoring sites on and off that property, including on nearby private wells.
Simard says nothing has been found at those sites to suggest an adverse impact on the watershed.
“We have 15 years’ worth of data … that shows that the long-term sustainability of the aquafer is not impacted by our operation,” she said.
Nagy says 15 years isn’t that long of a term when it comes to the lifespan of an entire watershed.
“If you keep pumping for so long, you’re going to run out of water,” he said.
Nestle filed its application to renew its water-taking permit earlier this week.