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Who should be taking our water? Nestlé or Guelph?

guelph or nestlé? who should take Puslinch water?
By Kevin Johnson, Puslinch Today.

Somehow the discussion around the table seems to have turned from being about Puslinch residents’ having fair access to sustainable clean water into a discussion on WHO should be taking our water – Nestlé or Guelph? Hearing that a report coming to Guelph city council is concerned that “Nestlé Waters Aberfoyle operation could pose as a “significant drinking water threat” to Guelph and Eramosa Township.” irks me to no end.

The Guelph report seems to be centered around the thinking that Guelph wants more wells in Puslinch, therefore THEY should be the ones taking the water, not Nestlé OR the residents of Puslinch. This is evidenced by the following statement: “city staff said future water needs could see the city looking at a new well to the south and that could conflict with the water bottling companies plans…A new well in the area of Victoria Road/Maltby Road south of Guelph is seen as a potential source for that extra water and that could lead to “potential conflict with Nestlé water taking” the report states.

“Nestlé’s water-taking in Aberfoyle is already having an impact on local water systems, and, as City of Guelph staff points out in their report, put the city into competition with Nestlé’s water taking for water security over the long term,”

On the city of Guelph’s own website I see no concern for the residents of Puslinch when they discuss their potential new wells in Puslinch. The only concern I see mentioned is that Nestlé may be taking water that the City of Guelph wants to take.

While I acknowledge a very small need for some bottled water, I would much rather see our water resources used for the public good in municipal systems. The fact that our water is being sold off by the Ontario government for $3.71/million litres and put into harmful plastic bottles by a for profit company is near criminal in my opinion. That being said, I think BOTH of these potential uses for water (Nestlé and Guelph) should come only after the residents of Puslinch have been given stronger guarantees that ensure access to clean, safe water in their wells.

“Nestlé Waters Canada’s water bottling plant in Aberfoyle has the “potential” to affect Guelph financially in the future, a Guelph city staff report says.”

Politics and niceties aside, I think it is time our local representatives became more vocal on this issue. I see no concern for the residents of Puslinch in this very public discussion, and I’m worried about that. Should I be?

Kevin Johnson

Workers from the contracting company Xterra put finishing touches on a new trench system in the Arkell Spring Grounds, east of Arkell

bottled water
Information for this article was gathered from some very excellent articles:

here, here, and here


  1. we decided to sell our property in Puslinch, while it’s still worth something, Our water well water level is so low this year, and it’s starting to smell , the wetland down the road, is dry, which it has Never done in the 20 years we have lived here, we are afraid that, it’s just a mater of time, no doubt, we cannot afford to just sit here like idiots and watch our life time investment dwindle to nothing, while Nestle getting richer by the liter, we are not stupid, we can see something is wrong, regardless of what Nestle is saying, in their reports, the people who run Puslinch are very short sighted, to even allow this to continue, because no water, bad water, will be the end of Puslinch property values, it’s already starting to happen, soon this will be a distant memory for us, but good luck to you all who think they can stay and fight this, seriously take a few minutes to do your homework and look into the “Real” Nestle Waters, see how they act around the world, they ABSOLUTELY care alright, about one thing, Profit, they will win, and they won’t stop, until they have the deepest well, and get the last drop of your water, just like they continue to pump right now, Without even a permit, in a draught, Puslinch is no match, an easy naïve target, Nestle must be rolling on the floor laughing.

    1. Just a clarification to Mr. Wentworth’s message: although Nestle technically does not have a new permit to pump, it is my understanding that their old permit has been extended until the gov’t makes a decision on their new application – so they are not in any way violating any rules as far i know – KJ

  2. I already regret moving here and it’s only been a little over 2 years. I know that the rule is always, ‘buyer beware’, but we had no idea the Morriston bypass was already planned and approved, for example. Then we heard more about Nestle and noticed that they were allowed to ‘voluntarily’ cut back on water-taking by a mere 20%, while the rest of us watched everything go brown and were careful about our water use for the sake of all. On top of that, we explicitly told our real estate agent to look ONLY at properties on a road that did not allow for heavy trucks and constant traffic. But of course, we have heavy gravel trucks barrelling down the road every single day. We counted 8 within a period of 90 minutes one summer afternoon. We don’t blame the OPP who already have their hands full catching speeders and careless drivers and we know the township has done their part by posting the signage, but they spend a lot of time and manpower re-grading our gravel section of road, while the truck drivers flout the law and use this section as a shortcut anyway. Ironically, it was the main reason we moved out of Hamilton Mountain because a mere 3 years after purchasing a home there, they put in the Lincoln Alexander Expressway right next to our house. I could look out the bedroom window during rush hour and clearly see the passengers sitting in cars, transport trucks, etc. every day. The constant 24/7 noise became unbearable after 20 years of it. We couldn’t even sit in our own backyard and have a BBQ or a visit because we would have to shout to be heard. Opening a window was a waste of time because the air left a pitch black layer of dust on every surface in our home.
    I thought this new place was a dream come true after 40+ years of marriage, child rearing, work, and scrimping to get to this place, but I feel betrayed and hopeless, once again. If anyone so much as mentions that they want to move to Puslinch, I will warn them about all of this. Mr. Lever now wants an exception if the greenbelt is extended to this area so there will be more room for industry and transport trucks from what I’ve read. I wish someone had warned us that residential property means little to this township and county.

  3. Where is the “C” option.. AKA.. NONE!.. But in all honestly, it will not matter if all of Puslinch speaks out to stop this. Kathleen Wynne will just take all this as a cash grab and be dammed to anyone raising a voice.
    The big issues seem to be that Guelph has no clue on how to maintain their current water requirements, yet they are expecting that surrounding areas bow to them and give up their water in their attempt to expand the city. Nestle on the other hand have had their days of huge profits/low operation costs, and those days should end. I am not saying to reduce their water pull or hike with water bills, I am saying, goodbye Nestle and just shut them down. Nestle basically exports out of the area almost 100% of the water they draw, where on the side of the city of Guelph, (I am assume) they treat the used water and put it back into the water tables. Lets get some actual ratios on water draws:used water treated and reused, I’m sure we will see Nestle rise to the top of the list.
    I have yet to see from anyone a true picture on how the Puslinch water table is made up. The water does not magically appear after we draw from it, it has to come from someplace, what other tables or steams feed into it, etc…
    For the government…. STOP guessing and fabricating data for the water tables. Get the true data and show us how the water table works, then we can actually make a accurate decision on how to move forward.

  4. I would agree, the financial damage to property value loss to the community will be massive as compared to what Puslinch Aberfoyle could ever benefit from Nestle

    the negative publicity for Puslinch water issues caused by Nestle are rancid, Absolutely NOBODY Wants a property that has no water, or even the hint of water problems, it’s that simple.

    Nestle is destroying the area, they have to be removed asap

  5. I absolutely agree with Joe and Albert on this ( I realize my last post was a bit of a rant on various problems we’re experiencing, but Nestle is by far the major concern for Puslinch and surrounding areas right now). We absolutely should have an option ‘C’; i.e. NO water-taking by Nestle or any other company. Period.
    We have not had any genuine, peer-reviewed, scientific studies that justify their actions in any way. People can use a stainless steel container and carry their own water from home, so it’s not like anything would be taken away from the citizens who need potable water for one reason or another. This is greed by a conglomerate and its stockholders, disdain for our environment and a slap in the face to everyone who depends on our area’s water supply, now and for future generations. I don’t want the price for water-taking to be merely increased, I want the practice to be deemed irresponsible and damaging to those of us who live here. I fear that if reckless water-taking keeps up, Puslinch Township will become a dead and depressing area that no one will ever again be able to call Home.

  6. It’s funny how no one talks about the annual report that Nestle sends to the Government, compiled by Golder Associates Ltd telling the government, and the rest of us, everything is ok – I have actually read the last report, and it’s BS. How Ontario can decide the fate of our ONLY source of water based solely on this report is beyond me. It’s not accurate for many reasons, but the main one is, they started compiling the reports after they started pumping, there is no base line data, to look at before the well was even drilled, so how on earth could we even determine what is normal. Many of the sensors are on their own property, they basically measure their own well…it’s crazy

    And when I did some further research, based on the news article http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/aberfoyle-guelph-water-nestle-bottling-plant-tour-1.3825916 it was disheartening to discover that Andreanne Simard, Nestle’s chief hydrologist, use to actually work for Golder Associates Ltd – I personally find that concerning.

    Like a few have mentioned it might be easier to just take the loss, and move away, rather than stay and fight a battle whose outcome may have been determined before it even began.

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