Nestlé Pure Life brand bottled water from Hope, B.C. has been traced thousands of kilometres across the country by the Council of Canadians.
Local chapters of the Council of Canadians reported finding the bottles for sale as far away as Yellowknife and Winnipeg – up to 2,144 kilometres from the source of the water.
Nestlé Pure Life brand bottled water from Aberfoyle, Ontario (Nestlé’s only other bottling plant in Canada) has been traced as far away as St. John’s, Newfoundland – 3,147 kilometres from the source of the water. Council chapters in Montreal, Thunder Bay, and Bridgewater, Nova Scotia also found bottled water from Aberfoyle for sale in their communities.
“We have wonderful tap water in Yellowknife. We don’t need to buy water in single-use plastic bottles that have been shipped thousands of kilometres from southern B.C.,” says Robert Wilson of the Yellowknife Chapter of the Council of Canadians. “Removing the water from the Kawkawa Lake aquifer in Hope has a real impact. Trucking it thousands of kilometres across the country creates needless pollution and adds millions of empty plastic bottles to our landfill. All that for the privilege of paying an astronomical markup to drink water that’s not half as good or as fresh as what comes out of our taps for next to nothing.”
Nestlé extracts 265 million litres of water from its Hope plant every year. B.C.’s new Water Sustainability Act continues the controversial “first-in-time, first-in-right” system which gives priority to those who used water in a region first, regardless of the purpose. During times of water scarcity, it cuts access off to newer users. Under the act, water permits given to industry companies like Nestlé would have no expiry date.
“Nestlé and other bottled water companies keep extracting and wasting this precious resource despite recurring droughts throughout B.C. and in Southern Ontario,” says Emma Lui, Vancouver-based Water Campaigner for the Council of Canadians. “Groundwater resources are finite. Droughts, climate change and over-extraction continue to impact our limited water sources. At this pace, communities will not have enough for their future needs.”
Eighty-three per cent of Canada’s bottled water exports come from British Columbia. The Council of Canadians is calling for a phase-out of water takings for producing single-serving, disposable bottled water products and a permanent moratorium on the issuing of any new permits for the same purpose. The Council is also calling for a review of water fees for other industries.
|Source||Found for sale in||Store||Distance by road and ferry|
|Hope, BC||Yellowknife, NT||Independent Grocers||2,126 km|
|Winnipeg, MB||Co-Op||2,144 km|
|Archerwill, SK||Co-Op||1,646 km|
|Yorkton, SK||Walmart / Save On Foods||1,704 km|
|Melville, SK||Extra Foods||1,868 km|
|Red Deer, AB||Sobey’s||958 km|
|Edmonton, AB||Shell gas station||1,009 km|
|Aberfoyle, ON||St John’s, NL||Dominion||3,147 km|
|Bridgewater, NS||Canadian Superstore||1,939 km|
|Dartmouth, NS||Walmart||1,851 km|
|Thunder Bay, ON||Walmart||1,428 km|
|Montreal, QC||IGA||605 km|
|Ottawa, ON||Loblaws||512 km|
|Cobourg, ON||Foodland / No Frills||179 km|
The Council of Canadians has 60 volunteer chapters from coast to coast to coast working with frontline community groups such as Wellington Water Watchers who are fighting to protect local groundwater from Nestlé.