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Ever wonder…

If the City of Toronto conducts regular water quality analysis and meets Ontario Drinking Water Standards of quality and safety, why do we have to worry about lead in drinking water on the University of Toronto campus?

What is the University currently doing to test for lead in drinking water?

Why is the university only conducting lead tests? Should we be concerned about any other potential contaminants in University of Toronto drinking water?
Water on Campus

After a three year collaborative campaign led by the student group the Public Water Initiative (PWI), in 2011 UofT became bottled-water free. To complement the ban on bottled water and promote the consumption of publicly available tap water, new water fountains and bottle filling stations have been installed in several campus locations. Recently, the University has taken some steps to improve their testing for lead in drinking water.

Although these are steps in the right direction, more work needs to be done in order to improve access to safe, accessible, drinking water on campus.

On Thursday, March 21 at 5:30-7:00pm in the Medical Sciences building (Rm. 3163) the PWI will host an information session to:

·         share some of our findings about water on campus;
·         talk about water testing on campus;
·         hear your thoughts on access to water; and
·         talk about future action.

Join us as we celebrate World Water Day by talking about water on our campus. We look forward to seeing you there- feel free to drop by anytime!

Got a question? See these Frequently Asked Questions. The information session is the perfect opportunity to discuss these and other questions!













from the SO website:

For the fourth year in a row, the Green Ribbon Awards recognized the outstanding sustainable achievements of students, staff, faculty members and external partners who have minimized environmental impacts, conserved natural resources and promoted biodiversity on campus.

Award 2—Student Category:

The Public Water Initiative

-PWI is a multi-partisan student group advocating clean & publicly accessible water sources on campus
-two of the founding members, Anda Petro and Leanne Rasmussen, were instrumental in the recent elimination of bottled water sales at most campus food outlet, providing an example of the lasting change students can have on U of T’s social and environmental landscape

Anda is photographed below with Sustainability Director Beth Saven and a Board Member.

Past winners:

We invite everyone to join us tomorrow for the launch of the On Tap campaign, to celebrate the University of Toronto going bottled water free!

Where: Willcocks Pedestrian Street, Willocks @ St George (next to Sidney Smith)

What: Water games, information, scavenger hunts, and prizes throughout the day; outdoor movie screening of award-winning water documentary FLOW at night!

When: 10:00-3:00 for water games, 6:00 for outdoor movie screening.

Visit for more information.

See you there!!


It has been an exciting three years for PWI. We have had many great experiences speaking and reaching out to the U of T community about bottled vs tap water issues. We have learned a lot about people’s thoughts on the water debate (and we’re happy to say that U of T has told us overwhelmingly that they prefer the tap!) We have campaigned with many amazing student leaders. And we have engaged and pushed the U of T administration to end the sale and distribution of bottled water on campus.

And now, we’re very pleased to announce that the University of Toronto has made the decision to go bottled water free!!

For those of us at the St George campus, you’ll notice this change has already taken effect. For those at the Mississauga and Scarborough campuses, you’ll notice it happening over the next three years.

There is still work to be done — certain departments will take a bit longer before they’re able to be on board, and further improvements and additions to the public water infrastructure are still needed. But these changes are all on track as well, and PWI and other student leaders will continue to work to make sure this new policy is a success.

If you’d like to find out more, check out the “On Tap” campaign, which launches Thursday September 15th. And also check out the links below to see the great press coverage this news has been getting!!

Many thanks to everyone who has worked tirelessly on this campaign, especially the University of Toronto Students’ Union and the Graduate Students’ Union!–university-of-toronto-banning-bottled-water-sales-at-downtown-campus–utm-boots-water-bottles

Check out more coverage of “Water: In Conversation with Maude Barlow”, in NOW magazine!

“In the fight for universal access to water, it turns out, there are warriors and there are hunters. ”

Global TV Toronto attended Monday’s World Water Day event at the University of Toronto.

See what they had to say about bottled water!

Global TV – Water Bottle Wars


And also, a big thank you to everyone who attended Water: In Conversation with Maude Barlow.  It was a big success!

International World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. 

This March 21, celebrate World Water Day with us!


Date/time: Monday March 21, 6:00-9:00
Location: William Doo Auditorium, New College, 45 Willcocks St
$2 for students, $5 for community
It is strongly recommended that you RSVP to in order to guarantee a seat.
Join us as we discuss water issues at a local and international level. Panelists will also discuss the impact of the bottled water industry on water resources and access to water.

– What is the impact of the extraction, bottling, transportation, storage, and disposal of bottled water?
– What happens when water is privatized?
– Why isn’t more money invested in fixing problems in the public water infrastructure?
– Can we have a bottled-water-free UofT?

Panelists include:

Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians

Maude is the recipient of ten honorary doctorates as well as many awards, including the 2005 Right Livelihood Award (known as the “Alternative Nobel”). In 2008/2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly. She is also the best selling author or co-author of 16 books, including the international best seller Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and The Coming Battle for the Right to Water.

Full biography:

Dr. Romila Verma
Dr. Romila Verma is a Lead Researcher in Water Issues with the
Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy. She also teaches
Water Resource Management at University of Toronto. Growing up with water scarcity in India, Dr. Verma is a passionate advocate for clean
water for all.

Dr. Verma will be speaking on:
The Water Crisis in Developing Countries: Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together.

Debby Danard
Bio coming soon!

Other panelists TBA

This event is organized by:
The Water Working Group (Public Water Initiative and UTSU), World Water Week Organizers, Oxfam UofT, New College Office of Residence and Student Life, University College Global Action Commission of the University College Literary and Athletic Society (UC Lit), Woodsworth Environmental Team (WET), Victoria College Students’ Administrative Council (VUSAC) & the VUSAC Environmental Sustainability Committee.

March 10 marks Bottled Water Free Day across Canada and the world! To commemorate this day the University of Toronto Food Services is pulling bottled water OFF THE SHELVES on March 10th! Bottled water will not be sold in cafés, cafeterias, vending machines and other retailers on major campus locations on Bottled Water Free Day. Across the world, communities are joining together to say no to bottled water and reclaim public water!

Here is how you can help:

* Pledge to go bottled water free on March 10:

* Sign the petition for a bottled water free UofT:

* Volunteer to Spread the word:
To help make this event a success, Food Services (UeaT) is looking for volunteers to spread the word about switching to tap water, and surveying student opinion on March 10.

In one to three hour shifts, student volunteers will:
– Hand out reusable bottles
– Engage with students on public and bottled water issues (short survey and a chance to win a meal card)
– and more!
In exchange for their help, volunteers will receive a gift pack full of eco-friendly products to use on campus (and free coffee!)
For info and to sign up to volunteer, CONTACT: Sarah Khan

Congratulations to the Innis College Student Society (ICSS)! They have passed a motion to end the sale and distribution of bottled water at their events, meetings, and club activities! In addition, they also resolved to bring this issue to college administration. The ICSS joins the Woodsworth College Student Association (WCSA) which passed a similar motion in 2010.

We encourage other colleges to take similar action in banning bottled water in their student association activities. PWI is happy to provide support and resources to make this transition.

This petition is for all students, alumni, staff, faculty, or anyone in the U of T community who supports our campus going bottled water free.

Please sign, and distribute widely through listservs or other means available!

If you are looking for the GROUP PLEDGE, you can find it here:

Please note this pledge is different from the petition, and is not for individuals to sign, only U of T groups. (Campus groups, course unions, etc.)