While Californians face one of the worst droughts in history (What global climate change?), the Neslte Corporation is doing what capitalist companies do best – exploiting natural resources for maximum profit. This time, it’s water. California citizens are facing stringent water consumption restrictions, but that’s not stopping Nestle from sucking out the aquifers for it’s multi-million-dollar bottled water operation.
This is from Al Jazeera America:
Last week saw California adopt mandatory restrictions on civilian water use. People caught watering their lawns to the point of runoff, hosing off sidewalks or driveways or washing cars without a shut-off nozzle can face fines of up to $500 a day. That message, however, has not, it seems, reached Nestlé Waters North America, makers of a variety of bottled waters, including Arrowhead brand.
In contrast to the Arrowhead labels showing snowy mountain streams, the water in many of those bottles comes from a spring in Millard Canyon, on the grounds of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians’ reservation in Cabazon, Calif., west of Palm Springs. Access to the spring actually belongs to the Morongo tribe, which bought the rights from the Cabazon Water District in the early part of the last decade for $3 million. Soon after, the tribe cut a 25-year deal with Perrier Group of America, a division of Nestlé, to bottle Arrowhead water. California water districts are required to report their water consumption and the levels in their wells to the state. The Morongo Indians, however, are a sovereign nation, and therefore exempt form oversight.
Through 2009, Nestlé Waters, the division that operates the Millard Canyon facility, provided the state with annual reports, but after that, the flow of information has slowed to a trickle. The state has used a rounded estimate of 244 million gallons pumped out per year — roughly the annual usage for 480 area homes, according to calculations used by area newspaper The Desert Sun.
A spokesman for the Morongo tribe insisted they had a long history of caring for the environment and argued their partnership with Nestlé created 250 jobs. But others on the reservation and in surrounding communities wonder if shipping out bottled water is the best use of a scarce resource. Nestlé is America’s largest water bottler, controlling a third of the market. In addition to Arrowhead and Poland Spring, it sells water under the Nestlé Pure Life, Deer Park, Perrier and San Pellegrino names, as well as several other regional brands.
Nestlé insists its water bottling facilities are operated with an eye toward environmental sustainability. Of course, given that bottled water is not really environmentally sustainable on its own, that would be a very neat trick.
What a neat trick, indeed, Truthseekers. Bottled water is a non-renewable resource. It’s not like planting trees to replace those used in the furniture or paper industries. Worse, the fossil fuels used in the production of the plastic bottles further wreaks havoc on the environment. Matters not to Nestle, which is the same corporation that in the mid-70′s sent sales representatives dressed as nurses into poor African nations to convince young mothers that its baby formula was superior to actual breast milk. As a result, thousands of babies died from malnutrition (from improper mixing) or dysentery from mixing the formula with polluted water.
There’s that nasty water issue again. Nestle is knee-deep in the muck. And it never apologized for any of the infant deaths it caused in “third world” nations as a result of its shameless, profit-driven propaganda against breast milk.
Will Nestle face any restrictions in the US for it’s similarly exploitative use of water in the face of near-catastrophic shortages? Well, Nestle is a corporation and corporations are people my friends. So saith the Supreme Court. And as very wealthy “people” they enjoy more benefits than your average water-deprived citizen. Paraphrasing Orwell, some “people” are more equal than others. And, therefore, more entitled to disappearing resources – even water.
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