Saskatoon

Canadian Beverage Association pushes back on proposed bottled water ban

The Canadian Beverage Association says getting rid of bottled water at City of Saskatoon-run events and facilities would come with an economic cost.

Group says about 150 in Saskatoon area are employed by the bottled beverage industry

The bottled beverage industry only uses 0.009 per cent of the water extracted from wells and water bodies in Canada every year, says the president of the Canadian Beverage Association. (CBC)

The Canadian Beverage Association says getting rid of bottled water at City of Saskatoon-run events and facilities would come with economic consequences.

The warning comes in the wake of a bottle ban proposed in June by the Saskatoon chapter of the Council of Canadians.

Jim Goetz, the president of the beverage association — which represents the manufacturers and distributors of up to 90 per cent of bottled beverages in Canadian stores — says about 150 people in the Saskatoon area are employed by the industry.

"Whenever you're talking about banning a product or stopping its sale, we're just pointing out that there can be spin-off effects," said Goetz.

A letter, penned by Goetz and addressed to city councillors, will be making its way to the Standing Policy Committee on Environment, Utilities and Corporate Services on Tuesday morning. 

Tap versus bottle?

Gail Stevens, a member of the Council of Canadians' Saskatoon branch, told CBC News in June that tap water is a safer choice and less harmful to the environment.

Goetz said such concerns need to be weighed against the fact that "Saskatchewan has one of the highest recycling rates for beverage containers in all of North America."

Goetz is pointing to a statistic from Saskatchewan's Ministry of Environment based on statistics on beverage container return rates spanning 1996 to 2007.

"My issue with the Council of Canadians is it's not a tap-versus-bottled-water issue," he said, adding that most people at home drink from a tap.

"It's about giving Canadians choice a far as what they want to drink on the go, but obviously supporting and encouraging and ensuring that municipalities have safe municipal water sources.

Goetz, citing a statistic from Environment and Climate Change Canada, added that the bottled beverage industry only uses 0.009 per cent of the water extracted from wells and water bodies in Canada every year.

About the Author

Guy Quenneville

All-platform journalist for CBC Saskatoon

Story tips? guy.quenneville@cbc.ca

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