Nestlé Takes Over Small Town Water Supply – People Are Rightly Furious!

Water is one of the most essential things in life; so what do you do if you find your town’s water supply suddenly belongs to a large scale organization? Well, that’s exactly what happened to the residents of a small Canadian township, Centre Wellington when their nearby well was bought out by Swiss bottled water giant Nestlé. And residents were far from happy about it.


The township placed a bid for control of the well last month but were outbid by Nestlé, who will use the water source for their nearby plant in Aberfoyle – a place which bottles up to 3.6 million liters of water each and every day. In a country where over two-thirds of the indigenous Canadian communities have been living under a drinking water advisory for the past decade, it is only understandable that people have expressed their worries that bottling water in their country could cause water shortages in the near and distant future. Add on the thorny issue of climate change, and the potential impact of large bottling companies like Nestlé can be measured on a much greater scale.

Nestlé, for their part, argue that they knew nothing of the bid by the township, stating on their website “Nestlé were unaware that the other offer was made by the township.”

The quantity or content of these discussions has yet to be revealed, but people in high places are already making comments on the controversial news, with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne urging for a bottled water reform. Wynne is not the only one arguing for change. Community activists have been very vocal on the topic on social media citing the right for people to use water as a basic human necessity, not a commodity. One such voice in the activist’s corner is Amelia Meister, who has published a petition aimed to deny Nestlé of its water-taking permit in Aberfoyle. So far her petition has gained over 93,000 signatures from disgruntled readers.

Perhaps they are concerned with not only the thought of water being used as a commodity that can be bought or sold but the unfairness of the deal that is being offered ordinary citizens in Canada. Wellington Water Watchers, a non-profit group, served by the Aberfoyle well have revealed that they are being charged $1.50 per 1000 liters of water, whereas Nestlé pays just $3.70 for every million liters. If true, that is hardly the fairest of deals for the local residents.

When the rate for the water they use in their products is so low, it’s not a surprise that companies like Nestlé are investing in bottled water. In the US alone sales of these bottles has more than doubled in the last 15 years. It’s believed that Americans bought an incredible 11.7 billion gallons of bottled water last year, perhaps because it is seen as a healthier alternative to soft drinks and fruit juices. But alongside the health benefits, the purchasers need to ask themselves one question – I may have better health, but at what cost to the community?