Nestlé Water Bottling Under Attack
Nestlé, a global water bottling company, has recently come under fire by Americans for “stealing our country’s water.” Nestlé has been putting some communities in California and Michigan, two states with a shortage of clean water, in an extremely tough position.
The bottled water that Nestlé is taking from California comes directly from California aquifers. The company takes around 80 million gallons annually from Sacramento alone. They then turn around and sell the water back to the California people at a huge markup. With cities such as Sacramento living in severe drought for the past few years, Nestlé and other water bottling companies should not be taking away such a valuable and scarce resource just to sell it back at a premium.
Nestlé has been a contributing factor to the dwindling water supply in California’s aquifers. They have been operating with an expired permit from two decades ago, and have been faced with multiple lawsuits. However, Nestlé has such sufficient funds that they have been able to win every fight in court thus far.
Another state where Nestlé has sparked a fair amount of controversy is Michigan. Recently, a Detroit newspaper advised people to not purchase Nestlé or Ice Mountain (which is owned by Nestlé) bottled water. Flint residents who have been hit with severely high amounts of lead in their water have been forced to use bottled water for all their needs.
With Flint is such a dire situation, the last place Nestlé should be taking water from is this area, and yet Nestlé has been taking around 200 gallons of fresh water per minute for their bottled water. This water, which needs to be going to cities like Flint, is being packaged and sent elsewhere. With ties to the local Government, and with Nestlé being repeatedly sued, it is obvious that something is going on.
Should a multinational company be able to privatize a public resource? This is up for debate and when water situations become dire, the discussion only heats up.