Japanese order huge amounts of bottled water from B.C.

Mar 28, 2011

The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan are reverberating across the Pacific in a variety of ways. Now, a Vancouver B.C.-area bottled water company finds itself at the center of efforts to cope with the latest turn of events.

The Whistler Water Company has been selling bottles of glacier-fed spring water into the Japanese market for years. The March 11th earthquake and tsunami gave a big boost to the company’s orders, as Japanese officials sought to get clean drinking water to areas where water systems had been destroyed.

Then just last week, the company’s Chris Dagenais says, the roof blew off.

There was an announcement by the municipality in Tokyo that there was potentially irradiated water, the public drinking supply had irradiated water. And they were saying that infants ought not to be drinking that water.

Radioactive iodine 131 from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors had been detected in Tokyo water reservoirs. The radiation warning was later rescinded. But still, Whistler Water got a single order for 1.4 million one-and-a-half liter bottles. That’s ten times what the company usually produces.

Dagenais says it’ll take workers a month on double shifts -- packing seven cargo containers each day – to get caught up.

He says that because of the emergency need, the company -- and some of its suppliers and shippers -- are donating some services and materials to the effort.