Dominion Water Reserves: Olivier Primeau is betting on the privatization of our water

Dominion Water Reserves: Olivier Primeau is betting on the privatization of our water


After Beachclub, music festivals and booze, Olivier Primeau takes to the water. He has just extended $3 million to get his hands on a third of the volume of groundwater in Quebec currently under permit.

The 36-year-old serial entrepreneur invested in publicly traded Dominion Water Reserves (DWR), of which he is now president and chief executive officer, in addition to serving as chairman of the board.

“This is crazy. People have no idea. I don't understand how the government doesn't know that a company owns 36% of Quebec's spring water permits,” he said.

Ten billion liters per year

It doesn't “get into his head” that a company “like that” is so “undervalued”. “I did my due diligence for a year and a half, and that's really it,” he adds. 

There are 42 capture permits groundwater permits issued by the Quebec Ministry of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change (MELCC). 

These permits represent a volume of water of more than 10 billion liters per year and are granted to the Danone, Nestle, Coke and Eska of this world. 

Dominion Water Reserves – which will soon change its name, according to Olivier Primeau – owns six of these permits, for a total of 36% of the volume of water. 

In Duhamel, Outaouais, only one of these permits account for 20% of the volume of spring water in Quebec, according to MELCC documents. 

A real and powerful wave

However, the company is not pumping a single drop of water at the moment. 

“We are not capturing absolutely anything”, assures the general manager of Dominion Water, Jean Gosselin. 

The company's goal is to market its assets “directly or indirectly”.

“Obviously, we went looking for financing in order to market them,” adds Ms. Gosselin. 

In Quebec, we mistakenly believe that we are isolated from the financialization and commercialization of water, warns an expert.

“These people are riding a real and very powerful wave in North America: the privatization of water,” says François L'Italien, researcher at the Institute for Research in Contemporary Economics.

Those who claim to want to trade on the basis of valuing water must be transparent about their business model and their intentions, according to him.

“We are not in a republic of bananas, it's impossible to let them do it, ”he says again.

We must “open the black box” in order to know what their business model is, the nature of their investments, where they are and what they do. 

The 3 million Olivier Primeau's dollars will have the merit of alerting all of Quebec: the privatization of water is taking its course here as elsewhere. 

What is the Dominion Water Reserves ?

  • Founded in 1995 by Michel Pelletier
  • On the stock market for less than two years
  • Germain Turpin was a 20% shareholder before Primeau's arrival
  • He was also CEO
  • DWR owns 6 of the 42 groundwater catchment permits in Quebec
  • DWR owns 36% of the volume of source water under permit
  • DWR does not has ever pumped a drop of water in Quebec

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