Fiji Water Reopens Plant After 48-Hour Tax-Protest Shutdown

Fiji Water Reopens Plant After 48-Hour Tax-Protest Shutdown

Fiji Water bottle - CC license by Flickr user strfireblue

That was quick.

Fiji Water said today it has reopened its bottled water plant in Fiji, originally shuttered on Monday in protest of a government tax hike.

The company says it will now pay the new water extraction fee of 15 Fijian cents (8 U.S. cents) per liter. The tax, announced by the government last week, would apply to companies that extract more than 3.5 million liters of water a year, which is only Fiji Water.

Fiji Water, which currently pays one-third of a cent per liter, tried a similar tactic when opposing a proposed 20-cents-per-liter tax in 2008, but in that case the government backed down on the tax. 

The tax goes into effect in 2011, and will raise Fiji Water's payments to the government from $500,000 to $22.6 million (all figures are in Fijian dollars).

When announcing it's shutdown earlier this week, Fiji Water President John Cochran said, "The country is increasingly unstable, and is becoming a very risky place in which to invest," in a statement. The country's current president was put in place after a 2006 military coup, Fiji's fourth coup since 1987, and has been under martial law since 2009.

Fiji Water, itself, though, has been on the receiving end of plenty of controversy, from the environmental impacts of its heavy bottles being shipped all over to world, to the fact that its has sole rights to the aquifer it gets its water from while about half of Fijians do not have access to clean water. And though it touts its product as being carbon neutral, it's factoring in carbon offsets that will happen in the next 30 years to make that claim.

Fiji Water bottle - CC license by Flickr user strfireblue