Why is Business Being Allowed to Mine Community Groundwater? Nestlé is in the news again, and unfortunately it is again for all the wrong reasons. It has been clear for quite a few years already that the company “puts profits before people” by their actions and by current Chairman and former CEO Peter Brabeck’s statement in 2005 that “access to water is not a public right.” Nor is it a human right.

On 28 July 2010, through Resolution 64/292, the United Nations General Assembly explicitly recognised the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realisation of all human rights.

Nestlé has been in the news before for going against public opinion by usurping a community’s right to the groundwater in their area, and they are at it again.

The Council of Canadians, an activist group, launched the boycott against Nestlé last week in after it was made known that the company had bought a supply of safe drinking water out from under the small town of Centre Wellington, Ontario.

The company stated that they did not know that they were bidding against the municipality for the rights to the well which could have provided a new source of drinking water for the area, but have nevertheless concluded the deal to complete the purchase from the Middlebrook Water Company for “future business growth.”

Maude Barlow, chairwoman of the Council of Canadians, said: “The water crisis is at our door here in Canada. Groundwater resources are finite and currently taxed by droughts, climate change and over-extraction. At this pace, we will not have enough for our future needs. We must safeguard groundwater reserves for communities and future generations.”

The Council of Canadians is asking individuals to support the boycott of Nestlé by signing an online declaration that aims to stop Nestlé from profiting from bottled water. The declaration states:

Many parts of southern Ontario and British Columbia have recently faced drought conditions. Yet Nestlé, a giant bottled water corporation, continues to pump millions of litres of water from watersheds in Wellington County, Ontario and Hope, British Columbia.

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.

Water is a human right, commons and a public trust, to be shared, protected, carefully managed and enjoyed by all who live around it – not a source of profit.

Let’s stop Nestlé from profiting from water. Together, we can ensure our water is protected for generations to come.”

Ontario is in the middle of a drought, yet Nestlé is buying up more groundwater sources in spite of the fact that it currently has permits from the Ontario government to remove in excess of 20 million litres of water per day!

According to the declaration, “Nestlé pays less than $15 per day for this precious resource and then ships it out of the community in hundreds of millions of single use plastic bottles for sale all over North America — at an astronomical mark up.”

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