This is an ongoing project of documenting and analyzing the evolution of the Water Watchers, and its efforts to inspire and support water stewards and to promote water justice in Wellington County, Ontario and beyond. Using an oral history approach, this project involves interviews with WW staff and volunteers at different points in the WW’s history, conversations with program participants and other community members, and analysis of media coverage and other archival materials.

The aims of this project are

  • To document WW’s history as it unfolds, and to make it available to the public
  • To draw lessons from WW’s evolution for community organization, environmental activism, and grassroots efforts to promote water protection and water justice

Articles and other outputs:

Interactive time-line and archive on “Groundwater protection in Wellington County: The battle over water bottling, 2000-2022”: Here

Case, R. & Connor, L. (2019). History of the Wellington Water Watchers Part I: Launching a local movement. [Full access, downloadable pdf]

Case, R. A. & Connor, L. (2022). From concern to action: the founding of the Wellington Water Watchers and the battle against water bottling in Ontario, Canada, Local Environment. doi:10.1080/13549839.2022.2134321 [By subscription: Abstract and details here]

See also Case, R, & Eady, A. (2022). Crisis and opportunity: the impacts of COVID-19 on water advocacy in Ontario, Canada. Journal of Community Practice30(3), 279-298. doi:10.1080/10705422.2022.2103864. [By subscription: Abstract and details here]


  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC); Insight Development Grant (# 430-2020-00296; June 2020-May 2024)
  • Renison Research Grants (Mar. 2018, Oct. 2019, Feb. 20022), Renison University College, Waterloo

Research Assistants:

  • Leah Connor (Social Development Studies, Renison University College, and Masters of Public Policy, University of Waterloo)
  • Andriy Hrabchuk (Social Development Studies, Renison University College)
  • Olivia Miller, Research Apprentice (Social Development Studies, Renison University College)


Principle Investigator:        
Dr. Robert A. Case, Associate Professor, Social Development Studies
Renison University College (Affiliated with University of Waterloo), Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
[email protected]; website


Do you have information or perspective to share on WW’s history? Or ideas about additional chapters or themes in its history to explore? Please contact Dani Lindamood [contact info]