Two years ago today Nestlé’s Aberfoyle permit expired. Yet the multi-billion dollar water corporation continues to pump up to 3.6 million litres a day from the Aberfoyle well. Since the permit expired on July 31, 2016, Nestlé has pumped an estimated 1.4 billion litres of water and counting (see our counter for the latest number here).
Nestlé’s permit for the Erin well expired nearly a year ago on August 31, 2017 but Nestlé also continues to pump up to 1.1 million litres each day.
The current legislation allows companies like Nestle to continue to pump water on expired permits if they submit their application before the permit expires. But this problematic legislation allows pumping of groundwater to continue without community input, without the free prior and informed consent of First Nations like Six Nations of the Grand River and without consideration of the impacts on climate change and adequate data on water availability and future demands.
Nestlé purchased a third well, the Middlebrook well, in 2016. The former Wynne government’s two-year pause on Nestle's plan to extract 1.6 million litres of water a day from Middlebrook is set to end on January 1, 2019.
The Township of Centre Wellington recently urged the new Ford government to extend this moratorium for four more years so that relevant studies could be completed.
As the Council of Canadians has previously noted, “Ontario PC leader Doug Ford does not appear to have issued a policy statement on the issue of bottled-water takings, but the Toronto Star has previously reported that clients of the Ford family firm, Deco Labels & Tags, includes Nestlé Canada Inc., Coca-Cola, Cara Operations and Porter Airlines.”
Tragically, people in Ontario are seeing the Ford government support an economic system that puts unlimited growth above the vital needs of people and the planet. We must promote water security and alternatives to corporate power.
The Council of Canadians is deeply concerned that the Ford government will approve both the Aberfoyle and Erin permits.
Leading up to the June provincial election, the Council of Canadians conducted a survey with thousands of residents in Ontario to find out what mattered most to people across Ontario. For water, people residents want the government to:
- Eliminate permits to extract and exploit groundwater for bottled water corporations.
- Recognize the Human Right to Water: Prioritize community access to water over industrial uses and establish an Ontario Minister of Water Protection.
Local group Wellington Water Watchers has been calling for a phase out of bottled water takings.
The Council of Canadians calls on the Ford government to listen to people across Ontario and phase out bottled water takings and recognize the human right to water.