Nestlé has been pumping water out of aquifers across Canada on expired permits for months. Now they are seeking permits to continue this practice in Ontario.
Under the new permits, Nestlé would be allowed to extract 4.7 million litres of water per day from Ontario aquifers.
One of the major aquifers Nestlé draws from is in Aberfoyle, near Guelph. Last summer Guelph and the surrounding area faced droughts, while Nestlé continued to extract groundwater for its bottling operation.
Guelph depends on the Aberfoyle aquifer for its fresh water supply, but Nestlé is depleting the aquifer faster than it can be restored. Between 2011 and 2015, water levels in the aquifers fell by 1.5 meters — Nestlé, however, increased the amount of water it pumped by 33%.
Since public awareness of Nestlé’s water extraction has increased, the Ontario government has begun toughening rules for the company’s operation. In 2017 Ontario regulators increased the fee for water extraction from $4 per million litres to $503.71 per million litres. Nestlé must also now consult with local communities and any Six Nations that are in the area of their operations.
Increased pressure on the government to better regulate Nestlé’s activities is working, and the new rules they have implemented create an opportunity for water advocates to further crack down on Nestlé’s exploitation of the public’s fresh water resources.
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