NDP Environment critic Sandy Shaw is demanding the Ford government block Nestlé from handing Ontario’s water rights to an American private equity firm, One Rock Capital Partners, which is planning to buy Nestlé’s North American water-bottling operations.
The province’s moratorium on new or expanded permits for water taking for bottling is due to expire on April 1. On Monday, United Nations World Water Day, Shaw sent a letter to Premier Doug Ford and Environment Minister Jeff Yurek, calling for the moratorium to be extended, and for the Ford government to stop permits being transferred to these private equity investors.
“For decades, Nestlé Waters has bought up access to public water across North America to turn our most precious public resource into a private commodity. This buys them the ability to deplete our water tables, harm our ecosystems, produce billions of single-use plastic bottles – all while pocketing piles of profits,” said Shaw.
“They do this without the consent – in fact, sometimes with vocal opposition – from the Indigenous communities on whose territory they operate. Now Nestlé is planning to sell its Nestlé Waters North America division, including the Aberfoyle complex in Wellington County.
“Ontario contains about one-fifth of the world’s fresh water. It is our responsibility to protect our water for future generations. Our groundwater supply is too precious to be left in the hands of American Wall Street speculators. Water is a human right, it should not be negotiated away behind closed doors or exploited by corporations for profit.”
March 22 is the United Nations World Water Day 2021 – Valuing Water which celebrates water and raises awareness of what water means to people, its true value, and how people and governments can better protect this vital resource.
Shaw was joined at a press conference Monday by Arlene Slocombe, executive director of the Wellington Water Watchers. Wellington County will be particularly hard-hit by this pending sale, as Nestlé currently owns three wells in the area that supply its Aberfoyle bottling plant. Slocombe is leading a campaign of local residents, Six Nations representatives, and environmental advocates, to stop this sell-off, and protect the water supply from being exploited by profiteering investors.