Ontario, Canada relies on underground water for much of its drinking, agriculture, and industrial uses. The droughts of recent years have stressed local ecosystems and, yes, even suburban landscapes. Local governments have placed restrictions on the amount of water homeowners can use for certain purposes in order to protect future water supplies. Some corporations believe they should be held to different standards.
Nestle Waters Canada has a permit that allows it to pump up to one million liters of water each day in Ontario to resell as bottled water. Currently, Nestle voluntarily reduces the amount of water it pumps during a drought. When Ontario tried to regulate the amount of water Nestle pulls from the ground for its bottled water business, Nestle resisted. The local council backed down.
Nestle argues that aquifers aren’t affected by drought in the same way surface waters, such rivers and lakes, are. That’s not entirely true. Surface waters soak through the ground in recharge zones to refill aquifers. If there is less surface water because of a drought, then there is less recharge for the aquifer. Pulling the same amount of water, or even slightly less water, from a system that is barely recharging will eventually empty the aquifer.
Residents of Ontario are restricted in the amount of water they are allowed to use for irrigation and pools, but a large business like Nestle can make its own rules, apparently.
The video below is from CBC The National.