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The Ooho. Photo credit: Skipping Rocks Lab

Edible Water Globes Set to Replace Plastic Bottles

Bottled water is bad for the planet in many ways, especially since it tends to leave behind a mountain of plastic waste and other wasteful packaging material.

To help make this problem disappear, London-based startup Skipping Rocks Lab created the Ooho, a biodegradable and fully edible capsule for water.

These golf ball-sized sachets are made from seaweed extract and look like springy bubbles of water. You can drink them by tearing a hole into the skin and pouring the water into your mouth, or they can be consumed whole.

Not only does this novel solution address the United States' dismal plastic recycling rate—only 30.1 percent of PET bottles are actually recycled—the company says its packaging is cheaper than producing a plastic water bottle.

According to Fast Company, the Ooho's membrane is made through a molecular gastronomy technique called "spherification," the same process used to make fake caviar or the juice-filled balls you find in boba tea.

Skipping Rocks Lab is currently crowdsourcing funds for the Ooho and trialling the product at events as an alternative to plastic bottles.

"Where we see a lot of potential for Ooho is outdoor events—festivals, marathons, places where basically there are a lot of people consuming packaging over a very short amount of time," Pierre Paslier, cofounder of Skipping Rocks Lab, told Fast Company.

The crowdsourcing campaign as well as its accompanying video have gone quickly viral this week. The company announced Thursday it has raised more than one million dollars from 1,000 investors in a mere three days.

Target Store Charges $72 for 24 Bottles of Water in Cyclone-Hit Australian Town

A Target in the town of Bowen in Queensland, Australia has been accused of "price-gouging" customers by taking advantage of the area's clean water shortage in the wake of Cyclone Debbie.

A customer named Natalie Maher shared a photo online of a 24-pack of Cool Ridge brand bottled water being sold in the store for AUD $72 (USD $54). She wrote on Facebook that she thought the price was a mistake but an employee said the price was correct.

"Talk about price gaugeing [sic] us while we are in need," she stated. "I had only just left the disaster recovery people with lifeline there who gave me 12 bottles of water to bring home so we have clean drinking water and Target are [sic] pulling this stunt."

Local media outlets found the same Cool Ridge 24-pack sold at Staples for $36.99. Also, a 12-pack of Mount Franklin water, a similar brand to Cool Ridge, is sold at Coles supermarkets for $6.40, or $12.80, for two 12-packs. Coles is owned by Wesfarmers, the same parent company as Target. And, it's important to note that "despite the similar logo, name and type of outlets, there is no corporate connection to Target in the United States, nor has there ever been one," according to Wikipedia.

Target has since apologized. A company spokeswoman said that the $72 sign was a "misunderstanding." The store did not increase the price of water and has always sold water for $3 a bottle.

"It was an unfortunate misunderstanding at store level. A worker thought they were helping the community by selling the water by the slab," she said. "But we don't sell water by the slab, only individually."

The spokeswoman added that the price has been reduced to $1 a bottle to help the flood-hit community.

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Bottled Water Companies Pay Next to Nothing to Siphon Freshwater From Pristine Lake

Environmentalists in New Zealand are increasingly angered that bottled water companies are extracting and exporting the country's pristine and finite freshwater sources for private profit—and paying very little for this privilege.

As the Guardian reported, Coca-Cola, "which has an annual revenue of over $60bn, last year paid NZ$40,000 to the local council for the right to extract up to 200 cubic meters of water a day" from Blue Spring in Putaruru, which is considered a national treasure.

Additionally, the company Alpine Pure is proposing to take millions of liters of glacial water from Lake Greaney and Lake Minim Mere in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Mount Aspiring National Park.

Alpine Pure project summary Alpine Pure

Alpine Pure managing director Bruce Nisbet defended the proposal, telling the Guardian that the amount they want to take is "very small."

Also, Environment Minister Nick Smith says that the amount of freshwater being taken is tiny. His office notes that New Zealand's annual freshwater resource is 500 trillion liters, of which 10 trillion liters is extracted. Six trillion goes towards irrigation, two trillion for town water supplies and two trillion for industries.

But many Kiwis are unhappy. Earlier this month, a petition carrying 15,000 signatures was delivered to Parliament calling for a moratorium on bottled water exports. The petition was organized by opposition group Bung the Bore.

"In many parts of our country people are struggling to access clean safe water, yet at the same time billions of liters are being given away to private companies for nothing," Bung the Bore founder Jen Branje told Hawke's Bay Today.

According to the publication, 74 bottling plants in New Zealand have permits to take water and more permits are awaiting approval.

"These bottling companies pay as little as NZ$500 (US$350) to local councils to take billions of liters of this precious resource and consent for this exploitation is often given with no public consultation at all," Branje said.

Bottled water is a big business with more that $100 billion spent each year on bottled water around the globe. In areas of the world where clean water is not readily available and boiling water is inconvenient, bottled water is a definite solution.

However, there are many reasons why you should avoid bottled water if you can, from plastic waste to money waste. Additionally, the bottled water industry is a huge water waster. The International Bottled Water Association reported in 2013 that North American water bottling firms use 1.39 liters to make one liter of water.

Water scarcity is an issue around the world and is certainly becoming a problem in New Zealand, as contamination breaks out in wells and water bodies around the country. As environmental nonprofit Pure Advantage details:

"According to Canterbury District Health Board figures, the region now has the highest rate of campylobacter infections in the world, along with 17,000 notified cases of gastroenteritis a year and up to 34,000 cases of waterborne illness annually.

"It's clear that water quality in New Zealand is deteriorating. Increased algal blooms containing toxic levels of bacteria are polluting our waterways and 75 percent of native freshwater fish species are threatened with extinction."

Catherine Delahunty, the Green party's spokesperson for water, wrote in an editorial that it is unfair for bottled water companies to take the country's water when there is none to spare in areas struck by water contamination.

"Recently, Te Matatini kapa haka festival had to buy bottles of water for people because the drinking water supply was so polluted with e. coli bacteria, it was too dirty to drink," she wrote. "Ironically, the brand they bought was HB Water—bottled locally from an unpolluted source. Why should people have to pay for water because their water has been polluted, when a bottling company down the road can bottle and sell water for free?"

Prime Minister Bill English acknowledged the Bung the Bore petition last week, announcing that the government is asking a panel of experts to explore whether to introduce a charge for water exports.

His statement, however, reflected the government's century-old view that no one owns the water.

"On the one hand, there is real public concern about foreign companies' access to water. On the other hand, there's a long-held, deep-seated view among New Zealanders that no one owns it and it's free, so we'd want to step through any process carefully," English said.

"As we've discussed, New Zealand's long-held position has been, no one owns the water and no one pays for water—they pay for consents, they pay for infrastructure, but water in itself is free, just as it is for our electricity users and businesses who use it," he added.

In response, Delahunty wrote, "We're pleased that the Government is hinting it may look at charging for water, but whether they follow through with a plan that actually protects our water from pollution and extraction remains to be seen."

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6 Communities Where Nestlé Bottled Water Plans Are Under Fire

By Daniel Ross

With much of North America still in the grips of a drought going back years, managing dwindling drinking water resources is a pressing topic. And in a year when bottled water sales in the U.S. are expected to exceed soda sales for the first time, Nestlé Waters—a water-for-profit poster child that dominates the bottled water industry, with multiple operations across the U.S. and Canada—is at the front lines of numerous battles being waged in local communities across North America.

Nestlé Waters is at the front lines of numerous battles being waged in local communities across North America.

In recent years, a number of Nestlé's plants have come under heightened scrutiny for all sorts of environmental and legal reasons, like the matter of where all the waste plastic ends up. Plastic bottles are one of the biggest sources of trash in national parks, and parks that have enacted bans have seen a significant reduction in their total waste stream. All the while, water companies like Nestlé have been currying political favors through donations to successfully push back against a wholesale federal ban on the sale of bottled water in national parks.

For Ileene Anderson, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental nonprofit based in Tucson, the privatization of water resources is a cause for great concern, "especially the amount of profit in this bottled water phenomenon," she said. "They're basically just taking tap water, putting it into bottles and charging us a lot of money for it. Whereas really, it should be available for all humans to use."

According to some estimates, customers nationwide end up paying between 300 to 2,000 times more for bottled water than for tap water.

Here's a look at six places in the U.S. and Canada where Nestlé's bottled water plans are under fire.

1. Ontario, Canada

A nearly decade-long struggle by campaigners against Nestlé's bottled water operations in Ontario has reached a watershed, with the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change recently announcing a two-year moratorium on new water-taking permits, which includes the bottled water sector.

This means that—pending new permitting regulations—Nestlé can still operate under its expired permit in Aberfoyle and draw some 3.6 million liters of water per day from an aquifer that is soon expected to additionally support the nearby City of Guelph. Water levels in the aquifer are reported to have dropped in recent years.

Nestlé's water-taking permit is also up for renewal next year in Hillsburgh, where the company is allowed to draw about 1.1 million liters of water per day. Again, as a result of the moratorium, the company is unable to perform vital pump tests at a well recently acquired in Centre Wellington.

"These permits are located in highly water stressed areas," said Mike Nagy, chair of Wellington Water Watchers, an environmental nonprofit in Guelph. Nagy said that proposed regulations require water-taking permits to prove and factor-in a variety of considerations, including their benefit for future generations, their accumulative impacts, as well as the effects from population growth and climate change.

"Nestlé likes to argue that it only takes a small percentage from the watershed, but that's a smokescreen," said Nagy. "What they're actually doing is taking a lot of water from very small areas. In Aberfoyle, for example, they're very big users."

2. San Bernardino, California

While Nestlé's critics have made headway in Ontario, campaigners in Southern California have hit a wall. Last year, a Desert Sun investigation revealed how Nestlé had been drawing water from Strawberry Creek, in the San Bernardino Mountains, using a permit that had expired 28 years prior.

A group of environmental organizations subsequently filed a lawsuit arguing that the Forest Service had, for the duration of Nestlé's expired permit, illegally allowed Nestlé to pipe water from the creek for miles over National Forest land. Last year alone, Nestlé drew some 36 million gallons of water from Strawberry Creek, paying just $524 a year for the permit. But this past September, a federal judge ruled in favor of the Forest Service.

All the while, Strawberry Creek, a perennial waterway, has been running dry, said Eddie Kurtz, executive director of the Courage Campaign, a California-based progressive grassroots advocacy group. "It's way below what it needs to be to be healthy to sustain the environment and the flora and fauna, and it only continues to get worse," he said. "The rains we had last winter didn't impact this area at all, and so, it's not like things are on the upswing."

The legal wranglings are far from over, however. The State Water Resource Control Board, which operates under the authority of the California Environmental Protection Agency, is believed to be reviewing Nestlé's water rights to Strawberry Creek. The Forest Service is conducting an environmental review of Nestlé's new permit application. And Courage Campaign attorney Rachel Doughty said in an email to AlterNet that an appeal of the district court's decision is "anticipated."

3. Cascade Locks, Oregon

A ballot measure that could have opened the door for Nestlé to open a commercial bottling plant in Hood River County, Oregon, was overwhelmingly rejected by voters this past May. But the door is still left ajar.

The proposed plant would tap water from Oxbow Springs, in the town of Cascade Locks, the residents of which voted in favor of the project. It is the only precinct in the county to do so. Over the next few years, if a complicated transfer of water rights unfolds with Cascade Locks eventually claiming control of Oxbow Springs, then it's feasible that Nestlé could see its plans in Oregon come to fruition.

"If Nestlé gets in and gets water from Cascade Locks, then Nestlé has successfully compromised and corrupted the state," said Kathleen Fitzgerald of the Local Water Alliance, a group of Hood River County residents campaigning to protect the local water supply from bottled water companies.

Proponents of the project have said that the environmental impacts from the proposed plant at Oxbow Springs, in the Columbia River Gorge, will be offset by the some 50 jobs created in an area with high unemployment. Fitzgerald argues differently.

The plant has the potential to affect water levels in a nearby sanctuary, vital for migrating salmon seeking cool water, some of which remain there for months at a time, she said. "And the Columbia River is the second most endangered river in the U.S.," she added. "It's already compromised by dams and by [pollution] … Taking more water from it would only stress it even further."

4. Stanwood, Michigan

A near decade-long dispute between Nestlé and environmental campaigners was resolved in 2009 when the bottled water company agreed to nearly halve the amount of water it drew from a spring that fed the nearby Dead Stream and Thompson Lake watersheds, after it was determined that Nestlé's operations adversely impacted their ecologies and water levels.

A little over seven year later, however, the reverse is happening. Nestlé is attempting to more than double the permitted amount of water it can pump from another spring in a nearby county that local environmentalists say feeds bodies of water equally as threatened as those involved in the 2009 lawsuit.

"They're being impacted already," said Peggy Case, president of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation. "They're drawing down two cold-water streams. There's already no trout left in one of them—they were trout streams—and there are places where it's dry already."

Nestlé is looking to increase its permitted water drawing capacity from 150 gallons a minute to 400 gallons. Though last year, the company began drawing 250 gallons per minute from the well without any permit needing to be issued. It's all part of a $36 million dollar expansion of Nestlé's bottling plant in Stanwood, which is expected to create 20 new jobs.

"Nestlé's making a huge profit out of this water at the same time that there are people in Flint and Detroit who don't have water," said Case. "It's just criminal."

5. Sacramento, California

In March and December of last year, campaigners formed a human barricade around the entrances to Nestlé's bottled water plant in Sacramento, in an attempt to hold the plant hostage for the day. Their main complaint: Nestlé's permit to bottle some 80 million gallons of water a year in one of America's most drought-stricken regions.

Nestlé bought 52.9 million gallons from the capital's municipal water supply in 2015—less than one percent of total water demand within the city, argues Nestlé. The company also sourced approximately 32.4 million gallons in 2015 from five separate springs in the northern part of the state. On its website, Nestlé writes how it conducts regular monitoring of these springs, looking at things like recharge, water withdrawal and water levels. Robert Saunders of the Crunch Nestlé Alliance, an activist group that impaired operations at Nestlé's Sacramento bottling plant in in March 2015 and October 2014, disputes these claims.

He points to NASA data showing parts of the San Joaquin Valley sinking by nearly 2 inches every month due to the over-pumping of underground aquifers—as well as the reduction in water levels of Strawberry Creek—as proof that Nestlé's monitoring programs don't work. "People don't understand, aquifers don't come back," said Saunders, who himself was a link in last year's human barricades. "You drain them significantly, they don't recharge."

6. Phoenix, Arizona

Next spring will mark the unveiling of Nestlé's bottled water plant in Phoenix. According to Nestlé, the plant will buy (at the same rate as metered commercial water users) some 35 million gallons of water each year from the state capital—less than one percent of the city's total water usage. The company says the plant will also create between 40 and 50 new jobs.

Phoenix draws its water from four main sources, including Arizona's Salt and Verde rivers, as well as from a diversion in the Colorado River, which snakes down through Arizona from Lake Mead. Because of water levels in the lake reaching record lows and the ongoing drought parching the west, campaigners argue that even though the city has water reserves that can act as a cushion during dry periods, the city still needs to be vigilant with its water.

While Nestlé has made a lot of enemies in several North American communities, it's worth noting that the company isn't the only one that taps local water resources to support its business model. Sarah Porter is the director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Arizona State University's Morrison Institute. While she is a critic of the bottled water industry, she believes it's wrong to point the finger squarely at Nestlé.

"This is a manufacturing operation like many other manufacturing operations in the valley that use water," she said. "Some of these businesses will use a lot more water than the Nestlé bottled water plant will. Nobody is looking into that. Nobody's looking into the craft beer companies and all kinds of other water-using businesses."

Reposted with permission from our media associate AlterNet.

Nestlé Plans Dramatic Expansion of Water Privatization in Michigan, Just 120 Miles From Flint

By Lauren McCauley

The state of Michigan has reportedly issued preliminary approval for bottled water behemoth Nestlé to nearly triple the amount of groundwater it will pump, to be bottled and sold at its Ice Mountain plant, which lies roughly 120 miles northwest of the beleaguered community of Flint.

"Nestlé Waters North America is asking the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for permission to increase allowed pumping from 150 to 400 gallons-per-minute at one of its production wells north of Evart," MLive reported on Monday.

"The issue is the privatization of a critical resource. How much is too much?" said Jeff Ostahowski, vice president of the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation. Steven Depolo / Flickr

"The DEQ Water Resources Division conducted a site review and signed-off on the pumping increase in January, but the Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance is approving the permit," the report continued. The agency is accepting public comment on the proposal until Thursday, Nov. 3.

While Nestlé and other bottled water companies have rankled many communities for privatizing their public water supply, the news particularly stung in Michigan, where citizens have faced a years-long nightmare over lead contamination in their drinking water. Many residents of Flint are still forced to rely on bottled water for cleaning, cooking and bathing as government delays have hampered efforts to replace the corroded pipes.

Meanwhile, the report notes that company representatives defended the need to expand the facility because "U.S. market for bottled water in general is driving the bid for more Michigan groundwater."

What's more, Nestlé, the biggest food company in the world, gets to pump that water at no cost. As MLive reports, "Michigan law allows any private property owner to withdraw from the aquifer under their property for free, subject only to a nominal $200 annual paperwork fee. The interstate Great Lakes compact prohibits water diversions outside of the Great Lakes basin, but a bottling exemption within the law allows water to be sold outside the region if it's shipped in bottles smaller than 5.7 gallons."

"The issue is the privatization of a critical resource. How much is too much?" said Jeff Ostahowski, vice president of the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, which for years fought against Nestlé's expansion in the state.

When contacted by MLive for comment, Ostahowski said he wasn't even aware of the new proposal. But as news spread on social media, the outrage was palpable:

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

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Health

America's Lead Crisis Continues: Chicago Parks Shut Off Drinking Fountains After Tests Find High Levels of Lead

Nearly 20 percent of the water fountains in Chicago parks tested positive for excess levels of lead in the water and have been shut down by the Chicago Park District.

Hundreds of drinking fountains in Chicago parks have been shut off after testing revealed high levels of lead in the water.CBS Chicago

Of the 1,891 outdoor fountains in city parks, 445 exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) action level of 15 parts per billion. Another 14 of 544 indoor water fountains were contaminated as well. However, the EPA's Lead and Copper Rule refers primarily to municipal water systems, not single source supplies. The rule requires that action be taken if more than 10 percent of the taps tested exceed the 15 parts per billion standard.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water, and has set a standard of 5 parts per billion. The difference is designed to account for the fact that bottled water does not flow through lead pipes. In cases where it is sourced from municipal water supplies, it must be run through one of several filtration processes in order to be labeled as "purified." If the Chicago Park District used the FDA standard, an additional 250 fountains would have to be shut down.

Exposure to high levels of lead for children can lead to reduced cognitive function, lower IQ scores, behavior, learning and hearing problems as well as anemia and slowed growth. Effects on pregnancy include premature birth and reduced growth of the fetus. Lead can be harmful to adults, including hypertension and reproductive issues. In Flint, Michigan, where the crisis of lead in water gained national attention, residents reported rashes and hair loss that may be linked to contaminated water.

On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan filed a class-action civil rights lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Education, Genesee County Intermediate School District and Flint Community Schools. The suit alleges ongoing violations of federal education laws and seeks screening and funding for special education services.

During the 2014-2015 school year, at the height of the water crisis, the suspension and expulsion rate for special education students in Flint Community Schools was more than five times higher than the rate for special education students in all Michigan school districts, according to a statement released by the ACLU of Michigan.

"All children can learn," said Kary Moss, executive director of ACLU of Michigan. "Universal, free public education is a cornerstone of our democracy and a basic civil right. But the rights of schoolchildren and their families are being violated every day in Flint. This lawsuit exposes what has gone wrong—including a dysfunctional funding structure—and demands clear and urgent remedies to make it right."

Last week, tests showed excessive levels of lead in 30 of 180 parochial schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Across the U.S., 18 million people drink water that violates the standards set forth in the Lead and Copper Rule. In Pennsylvania, 8.5 percent of children tested were found to have dangerously high levels of lead in their blood. Schools in Portland, Atlanta and Washington have been found with lead-contaminated water. In June, an investigation by The Guardian found 33 cities that had rigged their water tests.

Much of the problem can be traced to aging water pipes in cities and towns across the U.S. Some 6 to 7 million lead pipes bring water to schools, homes and hospitals in America. Replacing those lines carries a price tag of $30 billion.

But the cost of leaving those lead pipes in place is even higher, measured in the health of America's children and their families. In many of these tested locations, lead levels didn't just slightly exceed the standards: they exceeded them by multiples. In Chicago's parochial schools, some samples tested at 40 parts per billion. Flint schools measured as high as 2,800 parts per billion. In Avalon Park in Chicago, one fountain registered 1,800 parts per billion, while another measured 1,200.

As a Natural Resources Defense Council report put it, "No amount of exposure to lead is safe."

Boycott Launched After Nestlé Outbids Drought-Stricken Town to Buy Well for Bottled Water

Nestlé's grab of a Canadian community's water supply has sparked international outrage and calls to boycott the company and bottled water. More than 150,000 Facebook users are talking about the news on the social media site.

The Council of Canadians is calling on people to sign a declaration on its website to boycott bottled water and Nestlé.

Nestlé Waters Canada, a bottled water operation of the multinational food and drink giant, outbid the Township of Central Wellington in Ontario for water rights to a local well to ensure "future business growth."

The company is already permitted to pull up to 3.6 million liters (roughly 951,000 gallons) of water a day for its bottling operations in nearby Aberfoyle, but decided to swoop up the well near Elora, Ontario in order "to supplement our operations in Aberfoyle."

According to the Globe and Mail, the company bought the well from Middlebrook Water Company last month after having made a conditional offer in 2015.

The reason this issue has blown up is because the Township of Centre Wellington wanted to buy the spring water well for itself in order to safeguard the drinking water supply the growing community, mayor Kelly Linton explained to The Guardian.

The township has a population of about 30,000 but "by 2041, we'll be closer to 50,000 so protecting our water sources is critical to us," he said.

Not only that, much of the province of Ontario is experiencing record drought conditions, with rainfall 100 millimeters below normal in some areas from April to June, the National Post reported in July.

A drought intensity map released by Agriculture Canada on June 17, showing "moderate drought" across eastern Ontario.Agriculture Canada

According to The Guardian, when township authorities learned that Nestlé was trying to buy the well, they scrambled over the summer to come up with a counter-offer.

"We put in more money than they did and we removed all conditions," Linton said. The amount has not been specified.

But Nestlé, which had right of first refusal, was able to match the township's offer and won the well for itself.

"As you can appreciate we aren't going to be outbidding Nestlé," Linton said. "As a small town we're using taxpayer dollars, so we have to be good stewards of that."

Nestlé was reportedly unaware of the township's counter-offer until after the purchase was made. Since securing the well, the company said it has submitted an application to the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to conduct an aquifer pump test to determine if the water source meets the company's internal requirements "as well as ensure it can be operated in a sustainable manner." If the source at the Middlebrook well site meets Nestlé's requirements, the company will seek a permit that allows it to draw water at 300 gallons a minute, Nestlé said.

However, Wellington Water Watchers, a local volunteer group, plans to block the company's plans.

"We are fighting tooth and nail to not allow that pump test to go ahead," Mike Nagy of the group told The Guardian.

The Wellington Water Watchers pointed out in a Facebook post that Nestlé's latest move will vastly increase plastic pollution due to the wastefulness of bottled water.

"Think about the plastic we will stop being produced by saying NO to the Nestle permit renewals and the recent purchase of the Middlebrook Well. 6.4 million liters a day would translate into 12 million plastic packages per day! This is how much water they would have access to if they get the permit in Elora Centre Wellington as they already have 4.7 million liters day. Use the 4th R, REFUSE."

The Council of Canadians is also urging a national boycott of Nestlé. A media release for the boycott states:

"This summer, while many parts of southern Ontario faced drought conditions, Nestlé continued to pump more than 4 million litres of groundwater every day from an aquifer near Guelph. Nestlé pays less than $15 per day for this water, which it then ships out in hundreds of millions of single-use plastic bottles for sale all over North America."

"The water crisis is at our door here in Canada," Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow said. "Groundwater resources are finite and are currently taxed by droughts, climate change and over-extraction. At this pace, we will not have enough for our future needs. Wasting our limited groundwater on frivolous and consumptive uses such as bottled water is a recipe for disaster. We must safeguard groundwater reserves for communities and future generations."

Additionally, as Barlow told the Canadian Press, the new Elora well is located near a First Nation's reserve, potentially putting their water supply at risk.

"[The well] sits on the traditional territory of the Six Nations of the Grand River, 11,000 of whom do not have access to clean running water," Barlow said.

Nestlé's has been making many recent headlines over its bottling operations. Last week, EcoWatch reported that the Swiss conglomerate is now legally permitted to take water from the San Bernardino National Forest in California on a permit that expired back in 1988.

A federal judge ruled that the corporation can continue its use of a 4-mile pipeline that siphons thousands of gallons of public water a day from the Strawberry Creek watershed and sell it back to the public as bottled water. The water is sold under the Arrowhead brand.

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