Community Wins as Nestle Drops Water Extraction Plans

nestle-water-extractionBy Andrea Germanos

After facing community resistance, bottled beverage giant Nestlé Waters North America this week ditched its plans to extract water from a Monroe County, Penn. spring.

The plan would have seen Nestlé take 200,000 gallons of water per day from the source in Kunkletown, located in Eldred Township, and truck it away daily to a nearby plant where it would have been bottled under its Deer Park brand.

The plans for the water grab, helped by the municipality, which may have improperly adopted a corporate-friendly ordinance, had drawn the ire of many local residents, who celebrated the development.

“This entire village of Kunkletown came together and slayed the dragon, and it’s something to be proud of,” Eldred Township resident Donna Deihl told the Allentown Morning Call.

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The change in plans was announced at a township supervisors meeting Wednesday, during which Eric Andreus, a hydrogeologist for Nestlé, said (pdf) the company faced “logistical and design challenges.”

He also acknowledged local opposition, adding, “it is clear to us that the community in Eldred Township does not believe the process around this project worked the way it was intended and that many of you have concerns about this project,” adding, “We have not been successful in gaining the same acceptance here in Eldred Township as we have in other communities that host our operations.”

When the announcement came, “The room went crazy,” Deihl said. “We clapped, we applauded, standing ovation. We cried.”

The news comes less than a month after voters in Hood River County, Ore. stopped a years-long attempt by Nestlé to extract up to 100 million gallons a year of Oxbow Springs water and bottle it under the Arrowhead brand.

Indeed, as Alexis Bonogofsky previously reported, “Kunkletown residents’ effort to keep Nestlé out of their community is not an isolated or parochial fight. Nestlé, which has the largest share of the bottled water market in the United States, is looking to secure and privatize water resources in the U.S. and around the world.”

One such place the corporation is taking water is in drought-stricken California.  Activists are gearing up for a rally outside a federal courthouse in Riverside, Calif. where a judge will consider a challenge to Nestlé’s water-bottling pipeline in the San Bernardino National Forest.  “Why should Nestlé — the largest food and beverage company in the U.S. — get to operate a huge bottled water operation on a permit that’s been expired for 30 years during a historic drought when it’s causing what used to be a perennial stream that wildlife use to go dry?” said Ileene Anderson, senior scientist and public lands deserts director at the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups behind the legal challenge.

Addressing such battles, Charles Pierce wrote at Esquire last month, ” If there is one element that cannot be turned over to whatever people believe market forces to be, it’s water. It should never be commodified or sold off to make some investor wealthy far from the people who need it. That this ever needs to be argued is a measure of how far we’ve allowed corporate power to change us as a nation,” he wrote.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Andrea Germanos writes for CommonDreams.org, where this article first appeared.

Image Credit: TheFreeThoughtProject.com

Also Read: Nestlé CEO Denies That Water is an Essential Human Right


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15 Comments on "Community Wins as Nestle Drops Water Extraction Plans"

  1. Mick McNulty | June 11, 2016 at 11:24 am | Reply

    Water extraction to bottle and sell it may be new to the US mainland but it is not new to US commerce. Some years ago I read a book written by an Oxford scholar who said in the 1990s Coca Cola set up a cheap but fully functioning pre-fabricated factory in rural India, then extracted water from a local aquifer which had supplied a whole farming community and the surrounding area since who knows when.

    After a couple of years Coca Cola emptied the aquifer after producing hundreds of millions of cans and bottles for the Indian market, then just walked away and left the factory without disassembling it. They left behind ecological problems including oils and heavy metals, and that’s what’s coming to America.

    • Mick McNulty | June 11, 2016 at 11:28 am | Reply

      ETA. I don’t mean water extraction and bottling is new to the US of course, I meant the real deep problems that follow when commerce gets to own the dwindling water supplies is what’s new.

      • And then people demand that they have bottled water to purchase, when what comes out of their tap is probably safer (in MOST instances) since there are regulations on your tap water…..bottled water, as far as I know, has no regulations.

        • You haven’t been paying attention to the water crisis in many towns and cities. The governments of the city owned water works in many places, have decided to go from chlorination of the water which keeps the system clean and the water safe to drink and bathe in, to the ammonification of their water, which creates multiple bacteria problems, copper leaching and other problems such that the incidence of ‘legionnaires disease has exploded in those ammonia poisoned systems. All that in order to save a few pennies. The people don’t notice it until they get sick using the water, even bottled water drinkers because it will be absorbed by the skin in a shower, or be drunk with tea, or even get their pets sick. Why? because the change happens, the bacteria start their colonies in the pipes, and it takes a few months for it to get to noticeable levels. Short memories, and secretive governments. Our state simply does not return water test results if they test a public source or if there is oil well toxins found. Evidently there is a ‘plume’ underground near me that took the folks in the area years to find after they started getting sick. Those who had it checked through the state weren’t getting results so someone sent it to a private lab, spread the word, others checked and found hexavalent chromium. Yea, that stuff in the movie. Check out Erin Brockovich’s face book page and follow her for a while to get the real news on water problems in the USA. Mainstream doesn’t report it unless it’s somewhere like Flint, and even it didn’t stay in the news long. Do you really think they fixed Flint in that amount of time? If you do, then keep on toking and ignoring what’s really happening in this country. Regulations don’t protect you, knowledge and moral, honest people protect you. How many of them are in government and would sacrifice their job to blow the whistle? So, you better have knowledge.

    • Nestles has also been exploiting third world countries resources for years…

  2. sharon sampson | June 11, 2016 at 1:23 pm | Reply

    I love this town that was smart and a connected community to be able to blow off Nestle. Kudos. This is a rare example. Sure wish we could all get educated and start standing up to these corporations that are doing ANYTHING they need to make MONEY. Resources belong to all of us. For one corporation to suck up an important resource or worse ruin an entire ecosystem and aquifer is so WRONG. The CEO’s and other corporation heads should get hung. Seriously. Money should not be the reason for ruining OUR resources! They are hurting all of us little peon people and taking away our resources…oh! ‘For more Jobs’? Lame. Money is a very bad concept and institution. There are other ideas to preserve while using resources and no one looks at them…you know designed by actual social engineers, not politicians? Not Corporations!

    • sharon sampson | June 11, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Reply

      Oh oh oh…as well as sucking up resources from other countries, blatantly dumping chemicals into once pristine waters, wildernesses…Can we get any stupider? Aliens that watch us are shaking their tentacles and doing their laughing shrugs!! We humans need to see how stupid we are behaving. Really, shame on us! Our big brains are worthless. We deserve to go extinct…sigh.

  3. wyatt & billy | June 11, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Reply

    When we step foot in town Nestle better gun up or turn tail right, Billy? Dam rite Wyatt.

  4. Rudy Campilii | June 11, 2016 at 7:47 pm | Reply

    “The plans for the water grab, helped by the municipality, which may have improperly adopted a corporate-friendly ordinance.”
    Therein lies the problem we face as a nation. these giant multi national corporations when they want something, they just buy the politicians. It happens on the local zoning level in any town right on up to the congress and Senate. It’s called Fascism!

  5. KUDOS to PENN.
    Throughout all fascists corporations.

  6. UnderTheBedMonster | June 12, 2016 at 2:34 pm | Reply

    Nestle makes millions off our free water. It’s about time communities have the guts to say NO to these greedy companies. There is a documentary out a while back about how Nestle pumps water and pays the landowner something like 10 CENTS per TRUCKFULL….or about 5,000 gallons!!! Talk about a markup!!! I don’t knowingly buy their product if I can help it.

    • They’ve had a lease on water in California for over 30 years. They pumped it through the drought, even though it dried the stream up, where wildlife USED to get a drink. They’re still pumping and taking over a million gallons a year. They pay 380 bucks a year for the lease.

  7. UnderTheBedMonster | June 12, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Reply

    Look at all the water that has been taken out of the Great Lakes and sold to China where they have toxic water to drink. Why do you think that MOST if not ALL of the storms are steered towards the Great Lakes….so the lake can be refilled by the storms. This fact must be brought before America…out water going to China………

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