The city of Sacramento, in their fourth year of severe drought, continues to allow the Nestle water bottling plant to draw unlimited (estimated at up to 80 million gallons a year) from local aquifers. Meanwhile according to IndyMedia reporter Dan Bacher (Nestle Continues Stealing World’s Water During Drought), Sacramento residents have been slapped with drastic water restrictions.
On March 12, Jay Farniglietti, senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion laboratory/Caltech, wrote in the LA Times that California has only one year of water left in its reservoirs – while the state’s backup supply, their groundwater aquifers are rapidly depleting.
The city charges Nestle the residential rate, 65 cents, for each 470 gallons it takes. The company then rakes in record profits by selling the water back to Sacramento residents for close to five dollars a gallon.
Under brand names such as Perrier and San Pellegrino, Nestle is currently the world’s largest bottled water supplier. They are notorious for denying that water is a human right at the 2000 World Water Forum
The Crunch Nestle Alliance, a coalition of environmentalists, Native Americans and other activists, is demanding that the city charge Nestle commercial rates for their water or tax their profits. Or better still that Nestle voluntarily shut down their Sacramento bottling plant.
Bacher’s article also notes that Governor Jerry Brown seeks to further limit Sacramentans access to water by fast tracking his Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). This would involve construction of peripheral tunnels to ship Sacramento River water to corporate agrobusiness, Southern California water agencies and oil companies that require massive amounts of water for fracking operations. If it goes forward, the BDCP would force vast tracts of Sacramento Delta farmland out of production for the benefit San Joaquin Valley factory farms and the fracking industry.
In the video below Nestle’s CEO Peter Brabeck explains why he believes water should be privatized – after forcefully arguing for Europe to remove their ban on genetically modified foods.
The Crunch Nestle Alliance, which doesn’t have a website, can be contacted through Andy Conn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
photo credit: CalPERS and the Drought via photopin (license)