The Ontario government currently allows private companies like Nestlé to purchase public water for use in bottled water. Here’s why this needs to change
1) Ontario’s Rules Never Anticipated Bottled Water
Ontario’s Permit to Take Water system was created well before the advent of packaged water. The system was designed to help farmers and other value-added industries, not enable private extraction of public goods.
We now have a situation where private companies like Nestlé extract Ontario’s water, package it, and sell it back to us. To put it another way, Ontario is subsidizing the profits of international billion dollar companies.
How bad is it? Currently, Ontario charges $503.71 per million litres every year. That’s over three swimming pools worth of water. Before August 2017, the price was $3.71.
2) It’s Causing Real Damage in Local Communities
Communities suffer when private corporations have unfettered access to public water.
In 2016, Centre Wellington attempted to secure a long-term water supply by purchasing a nearby well. Unfortunately, they were outbid by Nestlé.
The town of Aberfoyle experienced a severe drought, but Nestlé continued to extract millions of litres of water.
New regulations forced Nestlé to consult with the First Nations communities before receiving a permit renewal for their Aberfoyle and Erin Plant locations. The First Nations community accused Nestlé of conducting a “meet and greet” rather than real consultations. Even more troubling was that the majority First Nations residents were under a boil water advisory and have been for decades.
It’s impossible for local communities to push back against a multi-billion, international corporation.
3) The Government Shouldn’t Subsidize International Corporations
Ontario’s water extraction pricing essentially subsidizes profits for international corporations like Nestlé by keeping water extraction costs low and profits high.
Every million litres of water extracted from Ontario costs companies like Nestlé $537.10. A million litres of water is just over three swimming pools worth of water. If each bottle of water is 500 mililitres, and Nestlé charges $2.00 per bottle, they stand to make $2 million dollars.
According to the government of Ontario, the previous charge of $3.71 per million litres only covered 1.2 per cent of the government’s total water management costs. While the price is now $503.71, it still pales in comparison to the profit Nestle generates from Ontario’s public water.
We’ve launched a campaign to stop the sale of bottled water in Ontario. Click here to send an email to the Ontario government and your elected official calling on them to stop selling water to companies like Nestlé.