Tuesday, December 17, 2019


This issue is personal and has been so over the last several years. My wife and I and even our kids (long time ago) used to bicycle out Middlebrook Rd. on the way to Elora. We lived in West Montrose at the time. To this day we usually drive out to Elora from Elmira at least a couple of times each summer to visit the park and walk the trails in Elora. Of course we drive right past the Middlebrook wells on the way.

Today's Waterloo Region Record has a huge article with various titles in regards to Elora and area's battle with Nestle over their proposed pumping of the Middlebrook wells for their water bottling operations. The title in this morning's edition is "Small Ontario town takes on giant Nestle". Recently the moratorium on expanded pumping permits for the water bottling industry has been extended by nine more months while the provincial government continues its review.

Various studies confirm that current infrastructure (wells) are not adequate to allow expected population growth and resultant development in the Township of Centre Wellington. It was for that reason that the Township had also bid (unsuccessfully) on the Middlebrook Wells. Local residents also mention signs of a decreasing water table. All of this does not bode well for the future especially with expected impacts from climate change. That said there are other voices that suggest that bottled water operations are less of a concern to water supply than say gravel pits or pet food manufacturers.

My thoughts are to a certain extent contradictory on the matter. I do not believe that a private company or individual has any right to the public's water at any price. The fact that the resource (water) is currently so undervalued at $503.71 per million litres is especially egregious and insulting. At the same time I am not a blind, diehard fan of tap water. Our municipal and regional authorities are responsible for a litany of unresolved contamination problems locally including lead, asbestos, low level solvents and more. Only recently has the third world water system in West Montrose been taken off-line with a pipeline from Conestoga and St. Jacobs. The raw water in West Montrose was a disgusting mess of bacteria courtesy of both the river and all the local septic systems draining towards the river and the wells.

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