Sunday, November 7, 2021

Fiji artesian water

Canadian hotelier and businessman David Gilmour founded the FIJI Water Company in 1996 under the name Natural Waters of Viti Ltd.

Gilmour was the owner of the exclusive Wakaya Club hotel, on its own private island off Levuka that he had purchased in 1972, where he noticed that guests (including specifically Bill Gates) brought in their own bottled water.

Stories claim that Wakaya‘s guests had drinking water flown in from thousands of miles away while vacationing there, partially out of fear of the local drinking water supply on the remote tropic island and partially out of their desire to consume luxury goods.

As an entrepreneur, Gilmour set out to find a nearby water source containing an abundance of high-quality water in which to invest, and he found one. With geologists from his Barrick Gold Company, he confirmed a source of water in the Yaqara valley and took out a long-term lease on 20 acres, where the bottling plant was constructed, in his intention to ‘produce a bottled water as unique as the islands themselves’.

The subsequent development of Gilmour‘s water company, known as Natural Waters of Viti Levu in Fiji was assisted by both his past business and government connections from his resort development in Fiji and the favorable business conditions provided in Fiji.

Fiji Water developed a simple product that has come to be a symbol of high class and support for the environment. Bottled water is a luxury product which the Fiji company claims is made with “sustainable practices‟. Fiji Water is classified as “artesian” water. Artesian water, unlike spring or glacier water, is extracted from an artesian aquifer, which is a chamber of water confined within impermeable rock walls of a primordial volcanic crater; in this case it is nestled at the “edge of a primitive rainforest.”

The source of water Gilmour located was a 17 miles long pristine aquifer in Fiji‘s Yaqara Valley, located on the northern part of the largest Fijian island of Viti Levu. The particular land Gilmour chose was crown or national land owned by the Fijian government. He then obtained a 99-year lease that has allowed Fiji Water to tap the resource. The government has not been able to build the infrastructure or front the funds needed to tap into the aquifer for use by its own people, and so Fiji Water has nearly exclusive access to this crucial source of fresh water.

The first sales to the USA began in 1997. Subsequent years demonstrated exponential growth. From 1998 to 2000 production went from 10 million bottles to 25 million bottles, and a new factory had to be constructed.

In 2004 private company Roll International owned by a wealthy couple, Steward and Lynda Resnick purchased Fiji Water from Gilmour for US$50 million.
Fiji artesian water

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