By AWN Staff
Coming from an economic and environmental perspective, Awakening News (AWN), in an effort to regain lost ground and make societal improvements to make the best of the Covid-19 situation, is seeking grants for retooling fish hatcheries, in order to save groundwater and create jobs.
AWN Associate Editor John Devine stated, “With all the job cutbacks, delays and losses since the Covid-19 outbreak was announced, we need to look not just at restoring existing jobs, but also look at creating new high-quality jobs in new fields of endeavour that teach new skills and bring forth promising new technologies that benefit the environment.”
AWN recently has published stories showing just how fragile our groundwater aquifers can be, something we’ve been warning about for years. Because ample groundwater supplies are foundational to economic activity, including farming fish or farming land for crops, the banking and credit-rating sectors take water supplies into account when providing credit to finance production, especially in industry and agriculture.
So, we at AWN have often asked the question, ‘How low will the wells go before the bankers say NO” when it comes to providing such credit.
Devine continued, “We have ran articles about Australia. Well before Covid-19, Australia experienced a drought coinciding with massive wildfires that raged across the country. The wells actually ran dry in some parts of Australia and an entire school had to be shut down because the government said there was no more water for the schoolkids or teachers. People think such shortages will never happen. Well, Awakening News has long been warning about the strain on our aquifers from water-bottlers and flow-through, non-recycling fish hatcheries and, sure enough, the seemingly ‘impossible’ happened.”
As AWN noted at the time, incredibly, the Australian government still allowed big bottling companies to mine whatever groundwater they could, even though some wells were running dry. Other AWN reports over the last couple of years have pointed to India’s 20 or so Coca Cola plants running full tilt despite widespread water shortages hitting the poorest of the people there.
And even in our backyard in North America, the Nestle company mines huge amounts of groundwater from its mega-pumping plants in Guelph, Ontario and Evart, Michigan. In Guelph, we understand that the government allows Nestle to mine the water at $3.71 per million liters. And in Evart, Nestle was recently granted a permit to go from 200 to 400 gallons per minute in terms of groundwater mining, and the Swiss-based company only pays a roughly $200 permit fee to remove such gargantuan amounts of water from underneath the feet of Michigan citizens.
As a partial remedy, AWN envisions obtaining grant money with which to restore the water-recycling technology that AWN Associate Editor John Devine developed for farming fish in the early 1990s, consisting at the time of a hatchery in Coldwater, Ontario and a nearby retail outlet called Fisherman’s Cove in Orillia. (See AWN’s permanent feature called “20 Years of Obstruction” in the information bar at the top of our home page for details on what happened to these businesses).
At any rate, the promising technology that was halted when those two facilities were forced out of business would cut water-usage at fish farms by as much as 90%, along with greatly reducing the pollution-discharge of tainted water from farming fish. In the commonly used flow-through hatcheries (water in, water out) the “pollution factor” is rated at about 20,000 people, and as much as 2,000 gallons per minute of groundwater is extracted. That’s even more than at the bottling plants, yet, to make things worse, much of the water used at hatcheries is discharged in a tainted state, as noted.
But imagine the meaningful, well-paid work that could come from training students from area universities to work on (and make improvements to) existing state-of-the-art water recycling and clean-up systems for fish hatcheries. When Devine ran Coldwater Fisheries and Fisherman’s Cove, he applied technology developed at the University of Guelph.
Grant monies and perhaps other funding sources would go a long way in laying the groundwork for improved education and employment opportunities to pursue the timely, worthy goal of being good stewards of our precious groundwater, while trying to ensure that what happened in Australia does not happen again anywhere.
Feel free to contact AWN at firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas on how to make sensible groundwater preservation a reality.
Also see our GoFundMe link to make general contributions to AWN (we also publish regular stories on the Bee Cities movement to protect our pollinators). We do more than produce news to simply inform; we’re all about producing news to activate toward solutions.