Food & Water Watch: Bottled Water Jobs Low-Paying, Dangerous: Analysis Cracks Corporate Spin as Nestle Announces Plans to Take More Water in Maine

June 25, 2008
11:11 AM

CONTACT: Food & Water Watch
Annie Weinberg, Food & Water Watch (703) 350-3767
Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch (202) 683-2500

Bottled Water Jobs Low-Paying, Dangerous:
Food & Water Watch Analysis Cracks Corporate Spin as Nestle Announces Plans to Take More Water in Maine
WASHINGTON - June 25 - Bottled water plants create few jobs, many of which are dangerous and low paying finds an analysis released today by the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch. The Unbottled Truth About Bottled Water Jobs examines the claims put forth by corporations when they want officials to let them open bottled water facilities in their towns and reveals the truth behind the spin.

* In 2006, the nation’s 628 water-bottling plants employed fewer than 15,000 people.
* A typical bottled water plant employs 24 workers, between two and 10 of which are local residents.
* The average salary for a bottled water worker in 2006 was $41,236, almost $10,000 a year less than the average manufacturing job.
* In 2006, bottled water manufacturing had one of the highest rates of workplace injury and illness, with one out of every 11 workers maimed or infirm—a rate 50 percent higher than the broader manufacturing and construction industry.

The release of these figures is especially timely as Nestle announces plans to extract water from a source in Wells, Maine. The company intends to sign a 30-year contract to take between 250,000 to 500,000 gallons of water a day from the town’s fragile eco-system. Nestle currently extracts water from eight wells in Maine.

Food & Water Watch is partnering with Defending Water in Maine and other local allies today to protest Nestle’s proposal at a press conference at the Water District Office in Kennebunk, ME at 2:00 p.m.

“Food & Water Watch is uniting with local advocates to protest the contract and the corporate control of a natural resource that should be safe, clean and affordable for all,” said Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch. “We must act now to send a message to the corporate water barons that water in Wells is crucial to the vitality of the town and its residents, not a get-rich-quick-scheme to line already fat corporate pockets.”

“Mainers want jobs that are driven by the needs of our communities and the environment,” said Emily Posner of the group Defending Water in Maine. “Economic development in the state should be controlled by Maine's residents and not multinational corporations.”

“Nestle Waters is not only stealing Maine’s groundwater, but rolling over the democratic process,” adds Jonathan Carter, neighbor to the Poland Springs Pierce Pond site. “Not only is Nestle taking our water for free and making an exorbitant profit, they are being subsidized by our tax dollars to carry out the theft.”

Rally and Press Conference Food & Water Watch; Defending Water in Maine;
Communities from southern and western Maine impacted by Nestlé's water mining; and their allies.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
92 Main Street
Kennebunk, ME
2 p.m.

Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer rights organization that challenges the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources. Visit