Nestlé is bottling millions of litres of our water — and paying nothing
Every year Nestlé extracts and bottles 265 million litres of water from British Columbia’s Fraser Valley.
And while the price of a litre of bottle water for consumers is often higher than a litre of gasoline, for Nestlé the price is considerably lower — in fact, it’s free.
That’s because B.C. lacks regulations on groundwater extraction. Nestlé is able to extract water freely without having to report on its activities, measure their impact, or pay a penny for the privilege of taking our water and re-selling it.
A Nestle spokesperson told reporters in 2013 that it is free to continue extracting water because B.C. “does not license groundwater, charge a rental for groundwater withdrawals or track how much bottled water companies are taking from well.”
Nothing has changed in the intervening years. The regulations governing groundwater use are still a century old, not having been updated since 1909.
Residents near the aquifers that Nestle draws water from have expressed concern. “We have water that’s so clean and so pure, it’s amazing. And then they take it and sell it back to us in plastic bottles,” said one local resident Sharlene Harrison-Hinds.
One advocacy group, the Council of Canadians, has waged a multi-year campaign to regulate water extraction in Canada.
Their position is that water is a public resource and should be treated as such, protected for current and future generations of Canadians.
We agree — it’s wrong that corporations like Nestle can take a public good like water, bottle it, and sell it back to us without paying a dime.
Sign the petition below if you agree that water should be a public good and regulated to protect it from big corporations like Nestle.