Title: [GreenYes] Re: ] Re: FYI on Bottled Water: No More Sweetheart Deals for Nestle
Local water depletion is a problem all over the country. While you
point to one example from a bottled water facility, there are scores
associated with ethanol production facilities. In most parts of the
country, water consumption is dominated by agricultural irrigation --
often at low or no price. Thermal cooling at power plants is a
non-consumptive use, but nonetheless changes water quality and flow
characteristics. To my knowledge, almost no non-consumptive users pay
anything for their use of millions of gallons of waters. Should the Ice
Mountain be properly charged and permitted? Sure; but it is a much more
extensive problem than bottled water.
I also am concerned about a broad-based rejection of involvement of the
private sector in the delivery of water. It is clear that the public
sector around the world, and especially in developing nations, has done
a poor job in extending water delivery networks to the lower income
segments of the population. While public systems often reach the middle
or upper classes, the poor are relegated to purchasing water from trucks
(which are also privately owned and operated) at multiples of the price
per gallon that the wealthier people pay.
The lack of delivery infrastructure is not only due to insufficient
capital allocated by governments, but also to a political unwillingness
to make system users who are not poverty stricken to pay reasonable
rates for water and sewage infrastructure and usage. The result is that
the existing systems can't pay for themselves, and system expansions to
reach the less politically adept and connected populations never happen.
Certainly privatization can cause problems with the affordability of
access. But so can (and does) socialization of what really is a very
scarce resource. Virtually free provision of electricity to farmers in
parts of India has driven irrigation usage well beyond sustainable
levels (since the normal constraint of pumping costs is missing). A
mixed model seems much more promising. Private capital builds,
maintains, and operates the water and sewer infrastructure, so the
systems actually get built and prices are reflective of actual scarcity
of both the resource and capital risk. If you want to regulate the
return to the utility, fine. If you want to make the operating licenses
contestable by other entities that can provide the services at a lower
cost (which in theory could include government agencies), that would be
fine as well. Public regulations constrain price gouging and ensure
lifeline access to water for basic needs, even for populations that
can't pay. This approach does work in a variety of resource sectors in
many countries. Government corruption will naturally be a problem, but
I would argue it is already a problem for the all-municipal model that
you seem to be advocating.
Earth Track, Inc.
2067 Massachusetts Avenue - 4th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02140
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>>> Pete Pasterz <PAPasterz@no.address> 02/15/08 6:29 PM >>>
Peter, thanks for sharing your thoughts on water conservation, and how
we all should be very conscious of how/if we're using drinking quality
water responsibly. Certainly, we, too, should be examine whether we
should even use drinking quality water for some of our current uses.
Granted, in all the uses of such water, bottled drinking water
represents a volume which may indeed currently be a "drop in the
bucket". Thanks also for outlining the solid waste and energy issues
associated with this wasteful practice.
However, the concerns about bottled water go beyond hoconsumed and what the delivery systems are. Water itself is being
commoditized world wide. It is yet another resource, like air, which is
essential to life, but is being ceded to private companies to use now,
to control and profit from, with no incentive to protect this renewable
resource for future needs In some areas of the globe, this is being
justified by a developing nation's inabilities to fund the needed
infrastructure to deliver tap water, with the cost being more than
profits paid to the companies--that is giving up local control and
rights to resources.
And, in certain local areas here in the US, companies like Nestle ARE
depleting local water sources while continuing to appeal court rulings
requiring them to stop. Northern Lower Michigan wells are drying due
to the rates of withdrawal of "Ice Mountain" water [BTW, the nearest
"mountains" are over 500 miles away] denying local residents and fruit
farmers water. And there are concerns there are major changes beginning
in aquatic ecosystems due to the volume loss. Yes, this is "good
drinking water", but the extraction system is not locally sustainable.
If this watershed were being courted for an interboundary transfer to a
city in another at such unsustainable levels, it surely would be denied;
in this case, Nestle is effecting the same result [albeit much more
inefficiently and with much greater environmental impacts] by bottling
and trucking the water to Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus,
In addition, while the current total volume of bottled drinking water
may not make up the lion's share of all water use, it does represent a
large and growing % of the drinking water consumed. The danger is in
this becoming a self-perpetuating phenomenon, whereby people are
convinced to buy water for $16/gallon [@$2.00/16 oz] because they are
marketed to believe that it is safer than their tap water--even though
most sold IS tap water. Drinkers then come to see tap water as
inferior, and come to care less about the sources of their water and
what the affects are on it from their other choices i.e. lawn care,
household chemicals, energy sources, etc. it...causing its quality to
deteriorate over time and consumption to continue to decline...fueling
increased demand for "safer" bottled water...
Many organizations such as Corporate Accountability International cited
in the email sent, as well as the Sierra Club
http://www.sierraclub.org/committees/cac/water/ have studied the
international impacts of this trend. First and foremost, ensuring that
people have access to good water means that they have a basic right to
it--from a local, environmental source and not from a $2.00 bottle.
Stopping the withdrawal of local sources of water for bottling stops the
negative impacts of the bottling and distribution you outline; they are
after all by products of this process of commodification.
From: GreenYes@no.address [mailto:GreenYes@no.address] On
Behalf Of Peter Spendelow
Sent: Friday, February 15, 2008 3:51 PM
Subject: [text][bayes][heur] [GreenYes] Re: FYI on Bottled Water: No
More Sweetheart Deals forNestle
There are lots of reasons to promote the use of tap water over bottled
water, such as the energy and environmental costs of making the bottles
and the energy costs of transporting full water bottles by truck, but
this alert does not address these real issues at all.
Instead, it is claiming that a large company is abusing the public by
negotiating deals for obtaining the drinking water to put in its
bottles. It strongly implies that people are losing their access to
water because a bottled water company is negotiating sweetheart deals to
control access to water.
We need a reality check here. All the bottled water in the United
States is only a tiny, almost microscopic, fraction of the drinking-
quality water we use each year.
It is a rare person who drinks more than 64 owater each day. In contrast, just a single toilet flush uses between
1 and 3 gallons of water. Washing dishes, doing laundry, taking showers
- all use multiple times the amount of bottled water that we drink.
That is all inside the house - add in watering lawns, and you multiply
our household water use a few more times. Yet households are a
relatively small consumer of water. By far, most of the fresh water
that we as a nation use is used in agriculture.
What I conclude from this is that if you are interested in making sure
that the public has good access to water, there are far, far better
things you can do to promote water conservation than to go after a
bottled water company. Changing your landscaping to plant drought-
tolerant plants, changing your diet to avoid meat, shortening your
showers, using water-efficient appliances - all those can have a real
effect in conserving water. If you want to go after companies that use
large amounts of water, go after the large agricultural companies, not
the bottled water companies. Even better, take responsibility to
minimize those things you do that consume good drinking water.
On Feb 14, 6:30 am, Pete Pasterz <PAPast...@no.address> wrote:
> From: activistnetw...@no.address
> Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2008 9:21 AM
> To: Pete Pasterz
> Subject: [text][html][bayes] No More Sweetheart Deals for
> Dear Pete,
> No More Sweetheart Deals for Nestlé
> <http://img.getactivehub.com/alert_images/speak_up.gif> Today is a
day for sweethearts, not sweetheart deals for the world's largest food
and beverage corporation.
> Click here to send Nestlé CEO Kim Jeffery a valentine
<http://www.stopcorporateabusenow.org/ct/31MrMrS16Rp1/> asking him to
be a dear and stop threatening local democratic control of water.
Not only has Nestlé commodified our most precious resource, it has
pressured communities into deals that sell off the resource for less
than 1/64 of a cent per gallon. They then sell the water back to us for
more than $1 per gallon.
> If that equation doesn't sit right with you, send Kim Jeffery a tough
love valentine <http://www.stopcorporateabusenow.org/ct/31MrMrS16Rp1/> .
> For years Nestlé has ignored community concerns - and the environment
- when it takes and bottles water for brands like Poland Spring, Deer
Park, Ice Mountain and Arrowhead. To get their way they have
circumvented local democratic processes and spent millions to green
their image - all to secure sweetheart water deals from Maine to
Michigan to California.
> Communities are suing to put a stop to the corporation's abuses and
they could use your help. Nestlé is fighting their efforts tooth and
> So if the corporation won't listen to the law or local interests,
> perhaps they will listen to love? Click here to shower Kim Jeffery
> with the 'affection' he needs to be a sweetheart and cease the
> sweetheart deals.
> Gigi Kellett
> Think Outside the Bottle Campaign Director
> Take Action!
> Click here to take action
on this issue.
> Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.
> What's At Stake:
> Nestlé is the largest bottled water corporation in the world, with
> over 70 brands sold in 130 countries. From California to Michigan to
> Maine, Nestlé is interferi> <http://www.stopcorporateabusenow.org/ct/3dMrMrS16Rpq/>
> Photo: Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation march against Nestlé's
bottling plant in their community.
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