“Nestle to begin draining millions of gallons of Arkansas River water”

Update from 14 June 2013: This article, published by the Colorado Independent is dated 16 June 2010, so Nestle has been draining this river water for over two years now.

Scot Kersgaard reports for the Colorado Independent:

Source: Colorado Independent
Source: Colorado Independent

If things go according to plan, in about a month someone at Nestle Waters North America will turn a valve and water will begin running out of a pipeline near Buena Vista and will splash into an empty 8,000-gallon tanker truck. It will take roughly an hour for the truck to fill, and then another truck will take its place. The water will run 24 hours a day, filling approximately 25 trucks each day, every day.

The trucks will drive 120 miles to a Nestle bottling plant in Denver where the water will be used to fill hundreds and thousands and millions of little plastic Arrowhead Springs water bottles, which will then be trucked to convenience markets, grocery stores, movie theaters, and sports palaces around the West. Each month, Nestle will fill roughly 40.4 million 16.9 ounce bottles with the water from the area’s Nathrop spring. By the end of a year, 65 million gallons of Arkansas Valley water will have been driven to Denver, bottled, driven somewhere else, and sold.

According to this article, Nestle bought the land close to the Arkansas river and drilled wells to tap it.  So since the company now owns the land, I guess Nestle owns Arkansas water too.  The report continues:

The water itself comes from an underground aquifer. Nestle drilled wells and built a five-mile pipeline to deliver the water to a facility in Johnson Village, where its trucks can be filled. Because Nestle does not own the rights to haul off all of this water, it has leased augmentation water from the City of Aurora, which will be released into the Arkansas River about 15 miles upstream from where Nestle will be getting its water. Nestle’s water will come mostly from the underground aquifer, which also feeds springs that flow into the Arkansas. No one knows to what extent that flow will be curtailed.

The report addresses concerns about “oversight issues”, specifically how anyone would know if Nestle were draining more than 65 million gallons per year of Arkansas water.

Kersgaard quotes Sarah Olson, documentary filmmaker of award-winning “Tapped”, a film about the bottled water industry:

She said that Nestle has a history of pumping more water than its permits allow. “Every situation is different, but a lot of things that are in the agreements between Nestle and any community are difficult for the community to monitor. Once the agreements are signed and Nestle begins pumping water, it is so easy for Nestle to take advantage of people and it is so difficult to stop them.”

So, did Nestle get a good deal, or what?  The author quotes a city official as saying that the deal with Nestle would bring a dozen or so full-time trucking jobs into Chaffee County.  The article continues:

Nestle has spent more than $4 million purchasing real estate along the Arkansas. Some of that land has been drilled for wells. It also purchased a little over an acre in Johnson Village. The company originally planned to bottle water from two sources, but one of the sources proved unsuitable, and that is the land, surrounding Big Horn Springs, that may become part of a conservation easement.

Nestle is paying Aurora $160,000 a year for the water. The amount paid increases 5 percent a year for the first 10 years of the lease. After 10 years, Nestle has the option of requesting a second 10-year term. If Aurora agrees, the price will increase 3 percent a year for the final 10 years. Nestle can break the agreement at any time. Aurora can only break the deal if it can demonstrate that it needs the water for its own uses. The Aurora City Council voted 7 to 4 to approve this deal last year.

Read the full article, click here.

I’ve posted several articles about plastic, including a Plymouth University study finding that 1/3 of fish caught in the English Channel have plastic contamination.   The problem is, we’re eating plastic chemicals when we consume food and water from plastic containers.

Nestle, of course supports the privatization of public water.

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