Nestle says it wants to 'partner' with small Ontario town on well it purchased

TORONTO _ Nestle Waters Canada says it wants to partner with a small southern Ontario township on a well that the community wanted for its drinking water supply.

Ontario imposed a moratorium on new or expanded bottled water operations after Nestle purchased a well that the small, but fast-growing community of Centre Wellington tried to buy to secure its future water supply.

The moratorium has prevented Nestle from testing the quality and quantity of the water available at the Middlebrook well site.

Nestle representatives appeared before the Centre Wellington council Monday night to propose discussions on how the company and municipality could partner on the future of the well.

Nestle says it wants to talk to Centre Wellington about “identifying potential revenue streams that contribute to shared and sustainable prosperity.”

And the company says any discussions would be protective of the community’s needs to safe, reliable drinking water.

Nestle has existing permits to take up to 3.6 million litres a day from its well in Aberfoyle, Ont., where it has a bottling plant, and another 1.1 million litres a day from a well in nearby Erin, Ont., another community in Wellington county.

Ontario charges $3.71 for every million litres of water taken, on top of a permit fee of $750 for low- or medium-risk water takings, or $3,000 for the 30 per cent of permits considered a high risk to cause an adverse environmental impact.

The public has until the end of January to comment on potential new regulations looking at ways to improve Ontario’s renewal process for water taking permits for bottled water companies _ and increasing the fees they pay.