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Local Water Warriors Strive to Have International Impact
Community Members Meet with UN Expert on Human Right to Water, Expose Bottlers’ Abuses
REDDING, Calif. - February 28 - Today at the McCloud River Campaign Ground north of Sacramento, community activists from McCloud, CA who have challenged bottled water giant Nestlé’s efforts to control local water resources in their hometowns are sharing their stories of struggle and victory with the first ever UN-appointed expert on the right to water on a diplomatic mission to the United States.
Debra Anderson, president of the McCloud Watershed Association and representatives from Corporate Accountability International are meeting with Catarina de Albuquerque, the UN Independent Expert on the Rights to Water and Sanitation, calling on the UN and other government officials to protect people’s right to water from interference by water corporations.
The meeting is one key component of a day-long visit by the Independent Expert with the Winnemem Wintu tribe, who have sought official recognition by the U.S. government in order to protect their ancestral lands in and around Mt. Shasta and the McCloud River. The Winnemem Wintu have been deeply involved in protecting water resources in the area from threats posed by Nestlé and others, and are hosts for the Independent Expert’ visit in the Mt. Shasta area.
“We’re asking the Independent Expert to take a serious look at the threats to the human right to water posed by water bottling operations here in the U.S. We’re also asking her to include the experiences and recommendations of communities impacted by bottlers in her final report. Overall, we are working to ensure that the Independent Expert continues to make strong recommendations to governments that they enact safeguards to prevent violations of the human right to water by corporations,” said Debra Anderson, president of the McCloud Watershed Association.
The Independent Expert is in the U.S. this week conducting a diplomatic mission, to identify best practices that help protect people’s right to water and investigate challenges, gaps or violations in the right to water and make recommendations on how to address these problems.
“At a time when we are facing a global water crisis where two in three people may soon go thirsty, water bottlers like Nestlé continue to undermine the human right to water by attempting to manipulate and strong-arm communities into handing over their water rights – often after strong objections from these communities at large,” said Mark Hays, with Corporate Accountability International.
Anderson, Corporate Accountability International and others are drawing particular attention to Nestlé, which has drawn concern from communities across North America and in other regions of the world for disregarding communities’ concerns about its extraction of local spring and groundwater for bottling.
“Today we are making sure that the record of Nestlé’s underhanded tactics and aggressive efforts to gain control of water resources doesn’t go unchallenged,” said Anderson