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Propose water bottler fee could impact local company

The government is proposing to increase the charge for taking groundwater for water-bottling companies in Ontario. Photo by Selena Steele-Clough, QNet News

By Selena Steele-Clough [1]

BELLEVILLE – The provincial government has posted a new proposed regulation [2] that would raise the amount of money bottling companies would be charged for taking groundwater.

Currently, water bottlers are charged $3.71 for every million litres of groundwater they take.

This proposal would see the fee increased by $500 for every one million litres of water taken.

The Oak Hill Water [3] company in Stirling could be impacted by this if the government increases the price.

“If the government does decided to increase the price of bottling water then the company will have to pay $1000 a year to the provincial government,” said Laurie Groves, the owner of Oak Hill Water.

The government is looking at increasing the costs of taking groundwater after concerns about Nestle Waters Canada’s [4] purchasing the rights to a water well in Centre Wellington, a southern Ontario municipality.  Many environmental activists feel that the current price for removing groundwater is way too low.

Nestle Waters said in a news release that it fully supports the government’s commitments to invest in a secure water future for all Ontarians.

They added that they believe all groundwater users should be treated equally, but they understand that opinions differ regarding the rates of various water users should pay.

Environmental activists are launching a boycott against Nestle, and are urging governments to stop issuing water-taking permits [5] to bottling companies altogether.

Groves told QNet News that if the government really cared about the environment, they would put a deposit charge on each bottle.

“When I was in Norway, I saw people going back to the grocery stores and bringing back those water bottles with them,” he said.  “If the government actually does care about the environmental issue of these water bottles then they should be able to do something like that.”

Anyone who would like to comment on the proposed new fees and rules can go through the Environmental Registry [6] until March 20.