Nestlé Plans to Bottle Water From Drought-Stricken Phoenix
Arizona's capital, in the midst of an epic drought, could be home to Nestlé's newest water bottling plant.
According to the Associated Press, Nestlé Waters will treat the city's tap water and bottle it under its Pure Life brand. The plan is to extract about 35 million gallons of water in its first year to produce 264 million half-liter bottles.
The city's water services department insists there's enough water to spare, even though Arizona is in the midst of a historic drought. As Bloomberg writes:
Phoenix produced about 95 billion gallons of water in 2015. It gets more than half from Arizona's Salt and Verde rivers, and a little less than that from a Colorado River diversion, some of which is piped into storage aquifers for emergency use. About 2 percent is groundwater. The Nestlé plant would use about 35 million gallons (or 264 million half-liter bottles) when it opens in the spring, or about 0.037 percent of the volume that comes out of the city's plants and wells. So with that kind of math, and all the demand for bottled water among thirsty Phoenicians, it looks like there's plenty to go around—even enough for Nestlé to pour out of the tap, bottle and sell for a few bucks.
Unsurprisingly, many people are wondering why it is necessary to bottle water in the middle of a desert when Arizonans can just drink it from the tap.
"Arizona is in drought conditions and with more people moving here each day it is imperative that we do everything we can to conserve water," a Change.org petition signed by nearly 45,000 people states. "Even on the City of Phoenix website, we are reminded that the future of our city water supply is uncertain."
A Facebook group has also been formed to protest the proposed plant.
"This plant approval further reveals the breathtaking duplicity of city managers as they attempt to force residents to implement water conservation measures," wrote Dr. Anton G. Camarota, an Arizona resident and a member of the Facebook group.
"The managers state that 'by watering your lawn wisely, you can conserve a precious resource and save money on your water bill,' and 'it is important to conserve water as a lifestyle. It's everyone's job to think about water … every time you use it … and use it responsibly.' At the same time that they promulgate these platitudes, they are selling water to a private company for profit. The managers fail to see that water is not merely a lifestyle choice, in the deserts of Arizona it is the difference between life and death."
Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the U.S., provides water to Arizona, California, Nevada and Mexico. In May, water levels shrunk to 37 percent full—the lowest it has ever been. Water levels could dip even further as climate change unfolds, triggering mandatory restrictions. Federal water managers warned that they might have to temporarily reduce Arizona's allotment in 2018.
Lake Mead Drops to Lowest Level in History https://t.co/ofeodsFwbx @robintransition @ClimateCentral— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1464128124.0
Sucking up the city's precious resource is not the only concern. Americans are now drinking water from these single-use plastic items more than soda, potentially creating mounds of plastic waste if the bottles are not properly recycled.
Bloomberg reported that Nestlé's chose to build a plant in Phoenix to cut down transportation costs of moving water into the region. Other factors included water quantity, water quality, regulatory burdens, local concerns and Nestlé's corporate perspective, according to Nelson Switzer, chief sustainability officer of Nestlé Waters.
"We want to be where people want us," Switzer said. Gauging a community's welcome (or lack thereof) is a part of the process. "If all of those things together make sense, then we can site," he continued. The plant is expected to create between 40 to 50 jobs.
The company said water scarcity is a real concern, and "in areas where population growth is threatening to exceed available water supplies, the concern is heightened."
If Nestlé builds the plant, Phoenix will be home to four bottle plants, including Pepsi Bottling Co., Niagara Bottling and DS Services of America.
Nestlé is also facing opposition over bottling plants from communities in San Bernardino, California, Hood River County, Oregon and Eldred Township, Pennsylvania.
Last month, college-bound student Hannah Rousey of Lovell, Maine turned down a $1,000 scholarship money from Nestlé subsidiary Poland Spring due to her objections to bottled water and the company's environmentally destructive practices.
College-Bound Student Rejects Scholarship From Nestlé's Bottled Water Company https://t.co/mAKi23j8on @sierraclub @greenpeaceusa @NRDC @350— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1466017371.0
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.
Abundant Harvests<p>Historically, Native people throughout the Americas bred indigenous plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their homelands. They selected seeds for many different traits, such as <a href="https://emergencemagazine.org/story/corn-tastes-better/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flavor, texture and color</a>.</p><p>Native growers knew that planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together produced mutual benefits. Corn stalks created a trellis for beans to climb, and beans' twining vines secured the corn in high winds. They also certainly observed that corn and bean plants growing together tended to be healthier than when raised separately. Today we know the reason: Bacteria living on bean plant roots pull nitrogen – an essential plant nutrient – from the air and <a href="http://www.tilthalliance.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/october/octobermngg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">convert it to a form that both beans and corn can use</a>.</p><p>Squash plants contributed by shading the ground with their broad leaves, preventing weeds from growing and retaining water in the soil. Heritage squash varieties also had spines that discouraged deer and raccoons from visiting the garden for a snack. And sunflowers planted around the edges of the garden created a natural fence, protecting other plants from wind and animals and attracting pollinators.</p><p>Interplanting these agricultural sisters produced bountiful harvests that sustained large Native communities and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/eam.2015.0016" target="_blank">spurred fruitful trade economies</a>. The first Europeans who reached the Americas were shocked at the abundant food crops they found. My research is exploring how, 200 years ago, Native American agriculturalists around the Great Lakes and along the Missouri and Red rivers fed fur traders with their diverse vegetable products.</p>
Displaced From the Land<p>As Euro-Americans settled permanently on the most fertile North American lands and acquired seeds that Native growers had carefully bred, they imposed policies that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr/87.2.550" target="_blank">made Native farming practices impossible</a>. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the <a href="https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act" target="_blank">Indian Removal Act</a>, which made it official U.S. policy to force Native peoples from their home locations, pushing them onto subpar lands.</p><p>On reservations, U.S. government officials discouraged Native women from cultivating anything larger than small garden plots and pressured Native men to practice Euro-American style monoculture. Allotment policies assigned small plots to nuclear families, further limiting Native Americans' access to land and preventing them from using communal farming practices.</p><p>Native children were forced to attend boarding schools, where they had no opportunity to <a href="https://doi.org/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0145" target="_blank">learn Native agriculture techniques or preservation and preparation of Indigenous foods</a>. Instead they were forced to eat Western foods, turning their palates away from their traditional preferences. Taken together, these policies <a href="https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-0802-7.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">almost entirely eradicated three sisters agriculture</a> from Native communities in the Midwest by the 1930s.</p>
Reviving Native Agriculture<p>Today Native people all over the U.S. are working diligently to <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reclaim Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and other crops</a>. This effort is important for many reasons.</p><p>Improving Native people's access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods will help lower rates of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aian-diabetes/index.html" target="_blank">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/native-american/obesity" target="_blank">obesity</a>, which affect Native Americans at disproportionately high rates. Sharing traditional knowledge about agriculture is a way for elders to pass cultural information along to younger generations. Indigenous growing techniques also protect the lands that Native nations now inhabit, and can potentially benefit the wider ecosystems around them.</p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.
Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.
- Your Guide to Talking With Kids of All Ages About Climate Change ... ›
- 7 of the Best Ted Talks About Climate Change - EcoWatch ›
- Katharine Hayhoe Reveals Surprising Ways to Talk About Climate ... ›
An extremely rare North Atlantic right whale calf was found dead off the North Carolina coast on Friday.
<div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="24c36ab7f041f96875677ba1e9dc1944"><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/CapeLookoutNPS/posts/3608024915884969"></div></div>
- 411 North Atlantic Right Whales Remain: This Solution Could Help ... ›
- Sixth North Atlantic Right Whale Found Dead Prompts Concern ... ›
- First North Atlantic Right Whale Calf of the Season Spotted off ... ›
By Andrea Germanos
A new report released Tuesday details the "shocking" state of global land equality, saying the problem is worse than thought, rising, and "cannot be ignored."
- We Need a Green New Deal for Farmland - EcoWatch ›
- The Netherlands Can Feed the World. Here's Why It Shouldn't ... ›
- The Key to Saving Family Farms Is in the Soil - EcoWatch ›
- Urban Farming Booms During Coronavirus Lockdowns - EcoWatch ›