In the kind of academic/corporate partnership that should give most people pause, the University of Guelph announced today that it has been given a $460,000 donation by Nestle Waters Canada to "conduct leading-edge groundwater research in Wellington County."
The donation announced today is going to the G360 Centre for Applied Groundwater Research at the U of G with the purpose of "studying groundwater and surface water interaction in fractured sedimentary bedrock, with the goal of ensuring safe and sustainable groundwater drinking supplies," according to a press release. Hey, did you know that that's the source of a lot of Guelph's drinking water? The same water that Nestle takes from the ground every day for the cost of $3.71 per million litres. That's good deal considering that the current price of a 24-pack of Nestle Water at Walmart is $2.97, meaning that Nestle makes nearly $300 for every million litres of water it sells. More than enough to make a hefty donation to the local university.
“Protecting drinking water from harmful contamination and exploitation is a shared responsibility,” said engineering professor Beth Parker, who holds a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Industrial Research Chair. “These municipalities are facing significant water demands through residential and industrial growth.” Not to mention companies bottling local water resources, shipping them out of town and selling them at a massive profit.
Meanwhile, water activists and people concerned about water supplies here in Guelph are waiting for an answer from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is going to approve Nestle's 10-year extension at its plant in Aberfoyle...
Listen to this week's Guelph Politicast for more on the issue.