The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch (202) 683-2500

Consumers & Communities Reject Nestle's Extraction of Water for Profit:

New Food & Water Watch Report Highlights Mounting Opposition Towards Public Water For Profit


Concerned with the health of their local groundwater supply,
environments and economies, communities across the country are
successfully challenging Nestle's aggressive efforts to expand its
water bottling operations, according to a new report by Food &
Water Watch, a non-profit consumer advocacy organization.

"Nestle is paying next to nothing - pennies per gallon - to pump
thousands or, in many cases, hundreds of thousands of gallons of water
a day out of rural communities. Then, it turns around and bottles the
water for billions of dollars in profits," said Wenonah Hauter,
executive director of Food & Water Watch. "But that's not all. The
company is using oil to make the plastic bottles, millions of which end
up in landfills or in incinerators that produce toxic gas and ashes.
Essentially, Nestle is dumping the environmental costs of its profits
onto society."

The report, "All Bottled Up: Nestle's Pursuit of Community Water,"
looks at the growing citizen backlash against Nestle's aims to expand
its water extraction and against bottled water in general. Case studies
of McCloud, Calif., Mecosta County, Mich., Wells, Maine and several
other places reveal how the company typically tries to take water, the
consequences and how residents are organizing to turn back the
transnational titan.

Furthermore, the report highlights Nestle's frustration with citizen
efforts and with the slowdown in the growth of bottled water sales. For
example, Nestle produced an online video reaction to the documentary
film, FLOW: For the Love of Water, which contextualizes the role of
bottled water in the growing world water crisis. Before releasing its
video, Nestle sent representatives to debate anti-bottled water
organizers who were educating citizens at Fall 2008 screenings of FLOW.

"Nestle's tactics are symptomatic of an apparent trend among water
bottlers to defend the need for their products," noted Hauter. "A
coalition of industry interests has also surfaced recently to counter
consumers' growing return to tap water. Its website, perpetuates the myth that bottled water is
somehow purer or better than tap water." Other findings of "All Bottled Up: Nestle's Pursuit of Community Water," include:

-Nestle profits off of water that it gets for little money. Had
public pressure not pushed Nestle to pull out of one proposed project,
the company could have sold the bottled water product for more than 127
thousand times its water extraction investment.

-The company refuses to listen to citizens who don't want their
water taken. For example, in Maine, the town of Shapleigh denied Nestle
permission to take water. However, residents fear that the company,
which already removes hundreds of millions of gallons of groundwater
from the state each year, may now try to get the water from elsewhere.

-Nestle contributes to the pollution associated with plastic bottle
production. Nestle's brands may be responsible for hundreds of millions
of plastic bottles in landfills.

To read the full report, visit:

Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people's health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

(202) 683-2500