San Francisco, Calif. — Food & Water Watch and the McCloud Watershed Council achieved a major victory today when Nestle Waters of North America announced it would withdraw its proposal to build a bottling facility in McCloud, Calif. The news came after 6 years of intense public debate regarding the plant and its potential impact on water resources in the area. At one point the deal would have allowed Nestle to pump up to 200 million gallons of water from nearby Mt. Shasta springs- enough water for 614 typical U.S. families.
This latest development is one is an escalating trend against allowing private corporations to bottle public water. In July, 2009, the grassroots group Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation successfully sued Nestle to limit the amount of water the company could withdraw for one a bottling facility in Mecosta County. Less than a month later, the City of Flagstaff, Ariz. denied Nestle a contract to bottle water from local resources there. Proposed bottling operations in Maine, Oregon, Colorado and Wisconsin are also drawing public scrutiny.
“This decision to withdraw the contract for a new water bottling facility is a major setback for Nestle, which has been eyeing water in McCloud for many years,” said Mark Schlosberg, western states director of Food & Water Watch. “It reflects the strength of community opposition towards Nestle‚ plans to take local water and highlights a growing consumer understanding that bottled water is expensive, a waste of natural resources and bad for the environment.”
Declining consumer interest in bottled water is further evidenced by the fact that, for the first time in five years, bottled water sales are on the wane.
“It is important for people to realize that they can make a difference. Nestle’s departure proves that ordinary citizens can successfully protect their community resources and way of life,” said Debra Anderson, president of the McCloud Watershed Council.
Contact: Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch (202) 683-2500