Nestle’s CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, believes that “access to water is not a public right.” Nor is it a human right. His solution to shortages of drinkable water is to bottle and sell more of it under the Nestle’ brand. At this point, his company controls 1/3 of the commercially bottled water in the U.S. The global percentage is also significant.
Many activists are realizing that water is a precious commodity, and privatizing it will only guarantee human misery while the corporations in control rake in unbridled profits.
Many of you won’t know this, but when the plumbing was installed to allow bottled water companies to fill tanker trucks at the bottom of Waterman Canyon, three wells in the Alpine Water District went dry. It took a court case to get any sort of compensation and this was never equal to the expense of drilling new wells nor the loss of available water.
For the last 27 years, Nestle’ has not had a permit to take water from our mountains, but has continued to do so. That is probably as much the fault of our Forest Service as it is Nestle’s fault, but that will be corrected and a five year permit is being reviewed.
Now let’s look at the issues . . . ALL OF THEM THIS TIME. A detailed description of the proposed action and a map of the project area can be found at the project webpage. As usual, a LOT of alphabet soup is used to keep the public from clearly understanding the issues, but the major one you will need to recognize is NEPA – National Environmental Policy Act. Check out their webpage for an overview. As part of the process, the public is welcome to make comments about the permitting process and the specific permit being considered.
One of the areas that can be considered, if there is sufficient interest, is “cumulative effects.” What are the cumulative effects of removing large amounts of water from our underground water supplies? Has this been considered in setting the rate that Nestle should pay for the privilege of taking that water?
If you have knowledge of this water extraction, you may be the only person who does. At the Open House, Forest Service representatives were candid in stating that records were not kept in the past, and even statements of individuals is helpful in going forward. Submit your comments at the project page.