Water campaign launches
At the Flow: It’s an exercise in social distancing for Judith Grant of the Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations (right), Anne Ritchie-Nahuis of AWARE Simcoe (centre) and Erin Archer of the Friends of the Waverley Uplands (left), who represent some of the groups that have come together to save the exceptional water that gushes out of artesian wells like the popular Flow north of Elmvale. Today marks the launch of the new website saveourwatertiny.wordpress.com
Website to take fight online
News release from Save Our Water!
Water Keeper Erin Archer calls out to all people, “The time is NOW! Honour our Mother Earth by rising up against the threat to our Water; her life blood. This issue affects so many people in Ontario, not just those in North Simcoe where the aquifer with the purest water ever tested is located.
“The water in our aquifer is at risk of being irrevocably damaged by new and expanded gravel pits. We created this website so that people across the Nation and beyond, can join us online to learn more about this pristine water, our campaign and how they can help.”
The new website saveourwatertiny.wordpress.com explains the science behind the initiative with a straightforward glossary of the key terms. In addition to a gallery of photos, the site lets people know how they can support the campaign.
As Anne Ritchie-Nahuis, a neighbour and environmental advocate, noted, “We can’t gather together in person right now, but this new site provides a shared digital platform for all our supporters and the many groups working together to protect our water. There is strength in numbers and we need to join together to save our water.”
Judith Grant, past president of the Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations, explains that this campaign is being driven by a diverse group of organizations and individuals sharing a common goal: to protect this extraordinarily pure aquifer from possible degradation. Her organization is a party to an ongoing appeal between the Township of Tiny and the multinational company that owns one of the gravel pits in question.
“The Canadian Environmental Law Association took us on as a pro bono client because this issue has far reaching implications for the protection of groundwater in Ontario. As in many rural areas, groundwater used by private wells in Tiny township is not protected by the Clean Water Act. It is appalling to think that the Teedon Pit is using this uniquely pure water to wash gravel.”
Local Indigenous groups know this issue well because they have fought this battle before, back in 2009 when the County of Simcoe proposed establishing a landfill over the same aquifer. Dump Site 41, as it was known, rallied many voices and the public outcry convinced the county to shelve the proposal. Bonnie Pauzé, a neighbour of the gravel pits and a veteran of the 2009 campaign, noted that “This is not a NIMBY issue; we are trying to protect a unique water source for future generations.”
A number of scientists have substantiated the campaign’s concerns. Dr. William Shotyk, from the University of Alberta, told Simcoe County in 2018 that “the quality of the waters in these artesian springs has been documented in international, peer-reviewed scientific journals. In fact, these spring waters have become the ‘gold standard’”. He added that the long-term costs of degrading groundwater resources will outweigh by a considerable margin the short-term gain represented by aggregate extraction.
According to Dr. John Cherry, Emeritus Professor at the University of Guelph and co-author of the leading textbook on groundwater, the literature about groundwater impacts from excessive disturbances generally shows that restoring groundwater to its original quality is extremely difficult or technically/ economically impossible. Therefore, the prevention of adverse impacts is by far the most economically prudent strategy for managing these natural resources.