Corporate water bottling companies are under fire from environmentalists, as they continue to extract water during what’s been one of the driest and hottest summers on record. Nestle Water Canada is one of those companies. Their water-taking permit for their Aberfoyle plant is up for renewal but the province still allows them to continue removing millions of litres of water a day while they wait. Nestle has made it clear they are strictly following all of the Ministry of Environment guidelines when it comes to their permit but an activist group says it’s the province that should be doing more for the environment by reducing the water-taking limits.
The company is legally allowed to take up to 3.6 million litres of water a day, but Nestle’s director of corporate affairs says the amount has recently dropped.
“We voluntarily reduced our intake by 20% as of August the 11th when the Grand River Water Shed called a level 2 drought.” Jennifer Kerr, Nestle Canada.
The chair of Wellington Water Watchers, an environmentalist group, is calling on the government to re-vamp their policy for bottling companies to phase out the permits.
“We look at this as a sunset industry, it’s a luxury that the world can never afford, it’s a sign of water inequality and it’s a loophole within our policy.” Mike Nagy, Wellington Water Watchers.
The province charges companies like Nestle $3.71 for every million litres of water they take away, but for a consumer going to the store, it will cost them over a dollar for any bottle of Nestle water.
“The government sets the rates that we pay, all permit holders across the province of Ontario pay the same amount and we pay it.” Jennifer Kerr.
Kerr says they’ve set up over 80 monitoring points for this site that look at the quality and quantity of the water, but environmentalists say it won’t solve the problem. Nestle Canada says it hasn’t done anything wrong, they’re following the government guidelines. Nestle’s permit expired on July 31st but they applied for a new one months before and in a statement we received from Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change they say they are currently reviewing the application. The ministry also says they are going to be looking at these water-permits more closely province-wide over the coming months.