Ninety-one percent of the homes in the Six Nations of the Grand River indigenous reserve in Ontario aren’t connected to the water treatment plant. Some have no water at all, others have water in their taps, but it is too polluted to drink. All the while, Nestlé extracts a million gallons of water a day.
Six Nations is not the only First Nations community in Canada with a water crisis. There are 50 indigenous communities with long-term boil water advisories. An estimated 63,000 people haven’t had drinkable water for at least a year and some for decades.
The size of the problem maybe underestimated since some indigenous communities, such as Six Nations, have functional water plants but still lack the necessary infrastructure to deliver the water. The lack of water has been linked to hepatitis A, gastroenteritis, giardia lamblia (“beaver fever”), scabies and ringworm
It’s hard to believe anyone in Canada could be without clean water. Canada, home to 60% of the world’s lakes and one-fifth of the world’s fresh water. Canada’s bounty has made it an attractive destination for beverage brands such as Aquafina and Dasani. The distribution is rarely according to need. Nestlé is extracting nearly a million gallons of water daily from nearby Six Nations treaty land.
Six Nations did not approve of Nestlé pumping. They told Nestlé that they wanted them to stop. Nestlé is still pumping as we speak.
Over the last century demand for freshwater has grown twice as fast as the population. The UN predicts that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will live with severe water shortages and two-thirds of the world could be living under stressed water conditions.
Anticipating shortages, companies like Nestlé are trying to lock in as much of the world’s water as possible.