Corporate giant Nestle is using local water supply to extract water for private bottling purposes. Such activity is viewed as problematic as it leaves people without a source of water.
Multinational food giant Nestle has reportedly secured the takeover of yet another community water well from which it plans to extract up to 1.6 million liters (roughly 423,000 gallons) of water per day for private bottling purposes.
In order to maintain “future business growth” with its multi-million dollar bottled water enterprise, Nestle outbid an actual Canadian town in taking over the well site, which currently provides fresh, clean water to local residents right from the tap. The Township of Centre Wellington had tried to protect the well from corporate takeover, but Nestle swooped in and purchased it before anyone could stop it.
Reports indicate that Nestle was so eager to snatch up the well that it even waived all of its typical purchasing conditions, which include having the water tested to make sure it meets quality and quantity requirements. The new well will serve as a backup for another Nestle-owned well in the nearby town of Aberfoyle from which it currently extracts upwards of 3.6 million liters (roughly 951,000 gallons) per day of water.
Nestle’s takeover of water wells throughout the world remains an ongoing problem that’s received less-than-adequate attention from lawmakers and regulators. Peter Brabeck, chairman of the Nestle Group, is actually on the record as saying that all water throughout the world should be privatized, a credo that seems to embody the vulturous ways in which Nestle aggressively acquires public water sources for private gain.
“Groundwater resources will not be sufficient for our future needs due to drought, climate change, and over-extraction,” a campaign known as “Boycott Nestle” recently warned. “Wasting our limited groundwater on frivolous and consumptive uses such as bottled water is madness. We must not allow groundwater reserves to be depleted for corporate profit.”
When private corporations take control of public resources, the people often lose
In response to outrage over Nestle’s recent water takeover in Ontario, the company now claims that it had “no idea” that the entity it was competing against was the township itself. Nevertheless, Nestle is not backing down from acquiring the site, which will generate millions of dollars in profits at the expense of local residents.
It’s an unfortunate situation for the town’s residents, who will no longer have exclusive access to their own water. The town’s mayor commented to CBC News that its bid was an attempt to stop this very thing from happening, and that what should have been a publicly-owned natural resource is now a corporate-controlled commodity owned and controlled by Nestle.
“When water taking is solely within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, the only role we really have as a municipality is to comment to the ministry, and it issues all the permits,” Mayor Kelly Linton told the media. “So purchasing the well would automatically give us control, and that’s what we were looking for, control of our water source and not just the ability to comment.”
Even worse is the fact that Nestle owns another nearby well in Elora that sits on land owned by the Six Nations of the Grand River, on a reservation where more than 90 percent of local residents – some 11,000 people – don’t even have access to clean water. So while these people continue to suffer, Nestle will now be profiting from what would have been their own clean water source, just like it will from the many other wells throughout Ontario and the rest of the world that, in a just world, would belong to local residents rather than private corporations.