Nestle Waters Canada - British Columbia's largest bottled water producer - is opposing a proposal that would allow control over the province's water supply to be delegated to local or regional agencies, Public Eye has learned. That proposal is one of six being advanced by the government as part of an effort to modernize its 15-year-old Water Act. In an interview, the company's corporate affairs director John Challinor explained, "If you look at other provinces in Canada and the United States, the state or the province has the responsibility for water management within the province. And we believe that that's where it should stay. Because they're neutral, they have a big picture view of water management and they should have that responsibility."
Mr. Challinor, who has registered to lobby the government about the issue, also said he thinks water access should be given on on a first-come, first-served basis.
"As opportunities to take water come along, then those people who are standing in line first should have that opportunity, because that's the way it's done elsewhere, and that's fair," he said, identifying municipalities, industry and private landowners as stakeholders who should be the first in line.
Mr. Challinor said he's already met with Environment Minister Murray Coell, who has asked Nestle Waters Canada to submit their Water Act modernization feedback in writing.
The company employs "about 125 people" across British Columbia and has a bottling plant in Hope.