The Council of Canadians sent a letter to Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne today to question why the Ontario government is allowing bottled water giant Nestlé to pump millions of litres of water every day on two expired permits.
The letter notes that 4,382 people across Ontario have sent letters to their Members of Provincial Parliament to express shock that the Wynne government is allowing multinational corporation Nestlé to continue to bottle and sell groundwater on expired permits.
“It is outrageous that bottled water giant Nestlé continues to remove groundwater despite permits that have long expired,” says Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “Now more than ever, we need to move to a bottled water free future to protect what water sources we do have.”
Nestlé’s permit for its main well in Aberfoyle, Ontario – allowing it to pump 3.6 million litres a day – expired more than a year ago. Nestlé has a second permit allowing it to pump 1.1 million litres per day from a nearby well in Erin, Ontario, which expired on August 31, 2017.
Since Nestle’s Aberfoyle permit expired last July, it has bottled roughly 960 million litres of water.
“A poll commissioned by the Wellington Water Watchers in 2016 found that a majority of Ontarians support phasing-out groundwater-taking for bottling, regardless of their political party affiliation. Over 70% of undecided voters support the phase-out,” said Mike Nagy, Chair of the Wellington Water Watchers. “We are calling on the Premier to deny any new permit applications currently before the government for water bottling, and to commit now – before the provincial election – to phase-out water taking permits for bottling in Ontario over the next ten years.”
The letter, written by water campaigner Emma Lui, states, “Your government is allowing Nestlé to pump, bottle and sell water from Ontario on these expired permits without public consultations or free, prior and informed consent from Six Nations of the Grand River. Since communities have not been consulted, we urge your government to stop Nestlé’s bottled water takings immediately.”
In addition to the phase-out of permits for water bottling, the Council is calling for public consultations on how to prioritize water uses to uphold the human right to water, and provincial funding for job retraining for workers in the bottled water industry.
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