I read with interest the article written by Keith Borkowsky and the accompanying editorial that appeared in the March 20, 2012, edition of the Brandon Sun entitled “Councillors Assured City’s Water Supply Safe To Drink” and the editorial in that paper, “Water Must Be Up To Standard.”
In the wake of the City of Brandon’s unfortunate challenges with its tap water quality, Brandon Coun. Stephen Montague is mystifyingly critical of the safety of bottled water.
Health Canada regulations for bottled water must be as strong and protective of public health as provincial regulations for tap water. However, Sun readers need not take my word for it, nor Montague’s for that matter. When it comes to the quality, safety or regulation of bottled water, they can get the facts by visiting the Health Canada website (www.hc-sc.gc.ca). There has never been a reported illness in Canada from drinking bottled water. It is used exclusively during emergencies by Red Cross, police, fire and ambulance personnel.
Contrary to what the councillor stated, less than five per cent of bottled water sold in Canada comes from municipal sources. Independent market research firm Nielsen Research (nielsen.com) reported that, as of Feb. 11, 2012, more than 95 per cent of bottled water emanated from deep aquifers on private property.
And contrary to what was published in the editorial, Brandon is one of just 27 municipalities across Canada that have banned the sale of bottled water in their facilities. Regarding plastic beverage containers as pollutants, almost 70 per cent of them were diverted from landfill nationally last year, making them the most recycled single-use consumer product in the country. The beverage industry is working with government and consumers to improve on this rate.
In that regard, nowhere in the world is there a more robust recycling program coming into place than what is found today in the province of Manitoba.
We and our industry partners have donated millions of bottles of water over the last decade to the citizens of this great province in their moment of greatest need. If Brandon needs us, we will be there again. We take no pleasure from the city’s water quality issues and are hopeful it will be rectified quickly.
In the meantime, given that Canada has an estimated $21-billion water and sewer infrastructure deficit that resulted in more than 1,500 boil-water advisories last year, we will continue to advocate to all levels of government that water and sewer infrastructure development and maintenance be made a priority.
John B. Challinor II
Director of Corporate Affairs
Nestlé Waters Canada
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 21, 2012