Ontario moves to put a cap on Nestle, bottled water companies

After a summer of public outrage, Ontario is considering slapping a two-year ban on new water-taking permits by bottled water.


After a summer of public outrage, Ontario is considering slapping a two-year ban on new water-taking permits by bottled water companies.

The province says the proposed moratorium is just the first in a number of steps it will be taking to strengthen the rules and regulations around water takings and further protect Ontarios clean water.

Some of the new rules on the table include placing a five-year limit on water-taking permits right now, permits are valid for up to 10 years and mandatory reductions on water takings during droughts. The province has also signaled a hike on water taking fees may be coming down the pipe, but that is more complicated than it sounds.

When word got this summer that Nestle Waters Canada had been allowed to continue taking more than a million litres a day from its operations in Wellington County with an expired permit all for the low price of $3.71 per million litres Ontarians got pissed. Once news broke that the bottled water giant had outbid a local municipality for a new well near Elora, Ontario, the Council of Canadians (CoC) called for an immediate boycott of Nestle’s bottled water.

Nestle says it “fully supports the Ontario Governments commitment to evidence-based water resource management consultations. The proposed moratorium means the multinational will have to keep its hands off its newly purchased well for at least two years. In a statement released October 17, company president Debbie Moore also indirectly addresses community concerns the company’s water-taking operations in Aberfoyle and Erin are messing with water table levels.

Moore says Nestle has been monitoring its operations in Aberfoyle and Erin for the last 15 years and “sharing information with the government and local community. We will continue to offer this science and transparent data to all stakeholders that share our commitment to water sustainability and conservation throughout this process.

CoC national chair Maude Barlow, calls the province’s latest move bare minimum first steps. She says Ontario should completely phase out water-taking permits for single-use containers.

The Ontario government has set a December 1 deadline for public comment on the proposed moratorium.

ecoholic@nowtoronto.com | @ecoholicnation

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