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Guelph To Share Groundwater Data With Nestle

bottled water

The City of Guelph has signed an agreement to provide Nestlé Waters Canada with access to analysis from its science-based groundwater flow model through a consultant. The model was developed by the City with the Grand River Conservation Authority and Guelph-Eramosa Township and uses the best available science to determine the effects of water-taking impacts on groundwater availability.

The City’s consultant will add Nestlé Waters Canada’s data into the City’s model and provide Nestlé Waters with the results from the model’s analysis. Nestlé Waters will use the results to inform their permit to take water renewal application to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) expected later this year.

Nestlé Waters Canada’s water taking application will be posted on Ontario’s Environmental Registry after it has been submitted, at which point the public and the City will have an opportunity to review and comment on it.

Changing requirements for permits for bottled water

The MOECC has asked the City to share analysis from its existing groundwater flow model with Nestlé Waters Canada to support new requirements for permit-to-take-water applications for companies that bottle water. Nestlé Waters Canada has agreed to use the City’s existing, peer-reviewed model which, once it includes the Nestlé Waters Canada data, will provide the best available analysis on groundwater for the area.

“It’s important that people understand that this data sharing agreement is not an endorsement for Nestlé Water Canada’s water taking applications, rather it’s a matter of ensuring the best available science is used to evaluate any water taking application and is therefore in our community’s best interests,” says Peter Busatto, General Manager of Environmental Services for the City. “The public told the Province they wanted science-based policy decisions around water bottling. This data sharing supports that by using a peer-reviewed, science-based model to determine what impacts Nestlé Waters Canada’s water takings will have on the aquifer.”

The City will continue to provide formal comment on any water-taking application or renewal that Nestlé Waters Canada submits, including those that use data from the City’s model.

Better data

Data sharing will benefit both the City and the Guelph community in a number of ways, including:

  • Improving and updating the City’s model by incorporation of Nestlé Waters Canada data from hydrogeological (occurrence and distribution of water) studies on their property;
  • Ensuring the best possible science is used to assess water-taking applications and renewals; and
  • Ensuring that water taking permit applications in the same area are using the same science and data for analysis.
    The City will retain ownership and control over the model and any data that is added. Nestlé Waters Canada will pay for the consultant’s costs and the consultant will work through the City, providing results from the model to Nestlé Waters Canada.

The City is also working with partners to see how its model might be shared more widely.

About the groundwater model

The Grand River Conservation Authority, as the Source Protection Authority for the Lake Erie Source Protection Region, led the development of the computer model in collaboration with the City of Guelph and Guelph/Eramosa Township. The model was developed to support Source Water Protection efforts and looks at how much water enters a watershed, is stored, and leaves the watershed.