Ontario Citizens Want to Put a Stop to Nestlé’s Groundwater Harvesting

Bottles of Pure Life brand water move on the production line at the Nestle Waters Canada plant near Guelph, Ontario, Canada, on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Nestle, the world's largest food company, owns about 60 water brands including Pure Life, the world's best-selling label. Photographer: Kevin Van Paassen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Ontario citizens are now demanding that the government make some changes on how they are giving out permits in the bottled water industry. Guelph in particular has been aggressively vocal about their frustration on the possible renewal of Nestlé’s permit to extract 3.6 million liters of groundwater per day from nearby Aberfoyle. They were concerned about the environmental and social impact that this would have in the community. The citizens were further agitated by the fact water bottlers like Nestlé’s only pay $3.71 for a million of liters extracted on Ontario land.  Meanwhile, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne promised that she will fix the issue but did not give a statement as to when.

Some are now voicing out their opinions on the possible solutions to this problem. The first one was to monitor if the groundwater supply is being depleted. Although Nestlé says that their processes are sustainable, these claims are shrouded with their own business interests which makes their statement unreliable. The Wellington Water Watchers already told the public that the aquifer has dropped by 1.5 meters. By watching the groundwater level, the government can issue an order for water bottler companies to stop if level goes down at an alarming rate.

Another solution is to give priority on who gets the water first in the local area. The first on the list should of course be given to the community since drinking water is vital for their survival. The agricultural sector and municipalities should also be on top of the list. And to further ensure that industries do not abuse extraction, the fees imposed should be raised.

Should the premier act in accordance to what was promised, then this might affect the revenue of water bottlers. However, it’s a small price to pay to ensure that their environmental and social impact is lessened to a great extent.