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Rethinking the value of blue gold

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar20,2024

Quebec hopes that the Act establishing the Blue Fund, which came into force at the start of the year, will change behavior so as to better protect the essential resource that is the water. But it's not a foregone conclusion, noted L'grocery.

Rethinking the value of blue gold

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Canadians are among the largest consumers of water in the world.

  • Marie-Claude Montambault (View profile)Marie-Claude Montambault

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Since January 1, Quebec companies that withdraw more than 75,000 liters of water daily (the equivalent of a 10 by 5 meter in-ground swimming pool) must pay higher royalties than before to the provincial government.

These new royalties apply to large industries, such as pulp and paper or mining, as well as to the food industry.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Agricultural production is not affected. Water used for the production of meat or fresh fruit and vegetables is not subject to this increase in fees, even though the agricultural sector is one of those that uses the most fresh water.

Bottlers are seeing their fees increase the most, from $70 to $500 per million liters of water withdrawn. For 1000 litres, this amounts to $0.50 in fees. For comparison, in Denmark the bill is $12.50 for the same amount of water.

The goal is not to make money with royalties, it is to change behavior.

A quote from Benoit Charette , Minister of the Environment, the Fight against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks

The Canadian Beverage Association, which represents the country's major bottlers – such as Coca Cola, Pepsi, Nestlé and Lassonde – had positioned itself against this increase.

We were against it, but for one main reason. This is because we wanted all water users in Quebec to pay the same price. Whether we are in the agricultural field to grow vegetables or we are making a drink, for us, it remains the same use of water, explains Martin-Pierre Pelletier, spokesperson for the Canadian Beverage Association.

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It is the bottlers (of water, juice, soft drinks, kombucha, beers, etc.) who are seeing their royalties increase the most, going from $70 to $500 per million liters of water collected.

For their part, organizations like Eau rescue highlight the progress represented by the new law, but judge that it is still too little to truly rethink the commodification and use of drinking water.

They want the government to set concrete targets for reducing withdrawals and to monitor supply more in certain regions which face periods when demand exceeds the quantity of water available – so-called “situations”. water stress.”

The myth of water abundance greatly harms its responsible management. With each heatwave in summer, we notice more and more cases of water shortage. It's not true that we have water security.

A quote from Rébecca Pétrin, general director of Eau rescue

The wood and paper processing industries as well as the mining industry are those which use the most water, reports the Eau Secours organization. The food and bottling industries also use a lot of fresh water, for agricultural production, of course, but also for food processing, packaging production, cleaning and the deposit process, among others. others.

Canada is among the countries that consume the most water.

Each Canadian consumes an average of 223 liters per day at home: cooking, washing dishes, showering, toileting, etc. For comparison, a resident of France consumes 150 liters of water per day.

Added to this is water consumed outside the home.

In Quebec only, it sells nearly 2 billion bottles of water each year. A figure that surprises many observers, given the quality of the water available free of charge in our taps.

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In Quebec alone, nearly 2 billion bottles of water are sold each year.< /p>

If we take PepsiCo (Aquafina) or Coca-Cola (Dasani), which are connected to the Montreal municipal network, a Montrealer who buys a bottle in a grocery store pays three times for it. First by paying for the bottle of water, then by paying the municipal water tax, and then by paying the municipal tax for waste management.

A quote from Rébecca Pétrin, general director of " Emergency water

The Canadian Beverage Association, which represents the country's major bottlers, defends the need to offer consumers bottled water.

Quebecers need to hydrate, need to drink a quantity of liquid every day. And our mission as an industry is to offer them drinks that will meet their hydration needs, argues Martin-Pierre Pelletier, spokesperson for the Canadian Beverage Association.< /p>

When asked if the new royalties will cause bottlers to increase the price of their products, the Canadian Beverage Association does not rule it out.

This is not a fee that is sufficient to reduce water consumption by industries, and it is even less justifiable to increase the cost of products in grocery stores, however, believes Rébecca Pétrin. p>Open in full screen mode

Quebec Minister of the Environment, Benoit Charette

Minister Benoit Charette now wants to ban the sale of single-use plastic bottles filled with water from aqueduct networks.

He thinks he can table a regulation to this effect by next year.

As Minister of the Environment, I make no secret of it: far too many plastic water bottles are sold in Quebec. So, if it can lead to a change in behavior in that regard, we will be a winner, he said.

The Canadian Beverage Association Matters oppose this measure.

The report by Johanne Despins, Marie-Claude Montambault and Isabelle Vallée on this subject will be presented at the x27;show The Grocery Store, Wednesday at 7 p.m. em> 30 on HERE TV

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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