Nestlé, the largest seller of bottled water in the world, is not paying a single cent for the water they extract from Fraser Valley, BC. Due to extremely lax laws in the province, the corporation is not even required to measure or report the millions of litres of groundwater it draws, bottles and then sells back to Canadians.
B.C. is the only province in the country that doesn’t regulate groundwater use and activities; “No permit, no reporting, no tracking, no nothing,” said David Slade, co-owner of Drillwell Enterprises, a Vancouver Island well-drilling company.
Estimates ring in at 265 million litres of water per year, nearly seven Olympic-sized swimming pools. And that’s just from Nestlé, only one of several corporations taking advantage of the uncontrolled water source, among them Whistler Water, Mountain Spring Water, and others.
John Challinor, a spokesman for Nestlé has spoken up to defend the corporation’s practices, reasoning that they’re “investing millions of dollars in that [BC] plant. [Nestlé] employ[s] 75 people [and] we pay millions of dollars in taxes,” he added. Further, Challinor admitted that the company would pay to use the water source — as long as all other companies did as well.
According to CBC, “The BC Environment Ministry says it plans to introduce new regulations next year.”
Jeremy Schipper is a well-hydrated intern at Toronto Standard. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeromeoschipps.