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NEWS: Nestle opposes local water control in British Columbia

Public Eye reports that, “Nestle Waters Canada – British Columbia’s largest bottled water producer – is opposing a proposal that would allow control over the province’s water supply to be delegated to local or regional agencies, Public Eye has learned. That proposal is one of six being advanced by the government as part of an effort to modernize its 15-year-old Water Act.”

As noted on their website, “Public Eye is a daily journal covering the backrooms of local, provincial and federal politics in British Columbia, breaking headlining stories before they become headlines. Our voice is neither conservative nor progressive. It is independent and irreverent, biased only against pomposity and hypocrisy. Legislators, senior bureaucrats, activists and key journalists were among Public Eye’s 132,203 unique visitors between November 2009 and 2010, averaging 11,016 unique visitors per month.”

In an interview, the company’s corporate affairs director John Challinor explained, ‘If you look at other provinces in Canada and the United States, the state or the province has the responsibility for water management within the province. And we believe that that’s where it should stay. Because they’re neutral, they have a big picture view of water management and they should have that responsibility.’ Mr. Challinor, who has registered to lobby the government about the issue, also said he thinks water access should be given on on a first-come, first-served basis. ‘As opportunities to take water come along, then those people who are standing in line first should have that opportunity, because that’s the way it’s done elsewhere, and that’s fair,’ he said, identifying municipalities, industry and private landowners as stakeholders who should be the first in line.”

“Mr. Challinor said he’s already met with Environment Minister Murray Coell, who has asked Nestle Waters Canada to submit their Water Act modernization feedback in writing.”

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke wrote in their book Blue Gold‘ that, “The best advocates for water are local communities and citizens, as water-endangering practices are most easily observed and felt at the local level. So it is crucial for these parties to become stewards of their local water systems as equal partners with governments. Local Water Governance Councils, for instance, could monitor and protect local water supplies, observe local farming practices, and report on polluting industries. They could oversee local watershed governance systems and implement practices emphasizing ‘local people and farmers first’, whereby local communities have first rights to local water.” More on page 240 of Blue Gold‘, which is available on-line at

The Council of Canadians action alert opposing water markets as now proposed for the BC Water Act is at

The Public Eye article is posted at