Many small, rural communities are targeted by water takers to secure and privatize water resources worldwide. Nestle has 40 water extraction sources in North America including both Hope B.C. and Wellington County, Ontario, Canada.
- Centre Wellington is one of a number of small rural communities where Nestle is proposing to take water to transport, bottle and sell. The permit ask is for 1.6 million litres of water per day from a well across from a park, truck it in large water tankers to a bottling plant, and fill 3.2 million half litre plastic bottles to ship away from the watershed. The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change in Ontario grants the permits to take water and charges $503.71 per million litres as a fee.
- Cascade Locks, Oregon, after seven years of struggle, called a vote on a bottling facility and water extraction from Oxbow Creek. They voted against it. Their reasons? Concern for the environment, the waste generated by selling water in plastic bottles, the rejection of privatizing a public resource for corporate profit, and the local Warm Springs tribe considerate it a sacred site. Nestle could yet appeal in order to take 100 million gallons a year for Arrowhead brand from the spring and Pure Life brand from the municipal water.
- Fryeburg, Maine has been sued and appealed five times since the initial application was made in 2005. Nestle lost the first four but won the last bid. This sends a message to small communities that Nestle could bankrupt your community in the courts to get the water. They now have the ability to take water for a 25 year period with optional extensions for another 20 years if the water lasts that long.
- Kunkletown, Pennsylvania is facing a proposal to drill two large wells, pump 200,000 gallons of water a day from the aquifer, truck it 20 miles for 10 years with extensions for 15 more if the water lasts. An ordinance was changed without public knowledge that would allow bulk water extraction in a commercial zone. The citizens are contesting this water grab.
- McCloud, California residents fought a six year battle to contest a proposed 50 year agreement with Nestle and won in 2009.
- Wacissa, Florida passed a local ordinance to require approval of four out of five commissioners for a bottling facility. That stopped water taking there for now.
- Nestle has been drawing water from a national forest in California without a permit since 1988.
WATER SCARCITY AND SECURITY
- According to the United Nations, almost one fifth of the world’s people live in water scarce areas. Almost one quarter face water shortages.
- Presently 37 percent of the United States is experiencing at least moderate drought. This results in water taking from groundwater that is declining.
- Governments are not investing in water infrastructure and utilities. Crises like Flint, Michigan and New Jersey public schools water systems are obvious examples.
- Climate change is creating record warm temperatures and droughts. The science cannot keep up with the dramatic changes.
- Clean and accessible water is a very important finite resource.
- Nestle has 52 brands of water world wide including Vittel, Perrier, San Pellegrino, Pure Life, Poland Springs, and Arrowhead. They see a very lucrative business opportunity in this water crisis and are counting on governments and local populations to be asleep at the wheel.
The question of how to protect water is a basic one and one all need to pay very careful attention to before it is too late!