Nestlé’s decision to move forward with a water bottling plant in Sacramento (pictured below) could have a bearing on its plans for a facility in McCloud. “In four to six weeks, we will let McCloud know if we will continue with our (McCloud) plans,” company representative Dave Palais said Monday night, noting that a recent article incorrectly stated that the company would be dropping its McCloud proposal.
CAN an ad campaign turn bottled water into the new tobacco? Taking a cue from anti-tobacco campaigns, Tappening, a group opposed to bottled water on environmental grounds, has introduced a campaign called “Lying in Advertising,” that positions bottled water companies as spreading corporate untruths.
“The FFDCA does not specifically authorize FDA to require bottlers to report test results, even if violations of the standard of quality regulations are found.”
“….FDA deferred action on DEHP [a chemical used in the manufacture of polyvinyl chloride plastics] in a final rule published in 1996 and has yet to either adopt a standard or publish a reason for not doing so.”
The Government Accounting Office has issued a report “Bottled Water: FDA Safety and Consumer Protections Are Often Less Stringent Than Comparable EPA Protections for Tap Water”
(GAO-09-610) on June 22, 2009. Read a summary or the full report.
PART 3 – Creating and Marketing the Demand for Water
Ruth Caplan, co-chair of Alliance for Democracy’s Defending Water for Life campaign, said Nestlé has sophisticated marketing campaigns that convince Americans to buy bottled water: “This whole idea that bottled water is somehow pure is a marketing gimmick that consumers shouldn’t buy.”
PART 2 – Rural Communities Take a Stand
Across the country, communities have raised questions about the environmental impact of Nestlé’s water withdrawal, but Nestlé is not dissuaded and keeps pushing for the plants. A few communities in Colorado, California, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Maine have successfully fought back.
Last February, the town of Shapleigh, Maine, population 2,326, passed an unusual ordinance. Like nearby towns, Shapleigh sought to protect its aquifers from the Nestle Corporation, which draws heavily on the region for its Poland Spring bottled water. Some Maine towns had acquiesced, others had protested, and one was locked in a protracted legal battle.
Shapleigh tried something new – a move at once humble in its method and audacious in its ambition. At a town meeting, residents voted, 114-66, to endow all of the town’s natural assets with legal rights: “Natural communities and ecosystems possess inalienable and fundamental rights to exist, flourish and naturally evolve within the Town of Shapleigh.” It further decreed that any town resident had “standing” to seek relief for damages caused to nature – permitting, for example, a lawsuit on behalf of a stream.
Over 250 people packed the Waterville (ME) Opera House for the World Premiere of “Tapped” on Sunday, July 12. Stephanie Soechtig’s debut feature is an unflinching examination of the big business of bottle water.
Grassroots organizations from Fryeburg, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Wells, Shapleigh and Newfield celebrated before the film with the Tapped production team.
Photos – All photos copyright V. Kelly Bellis; can be freely used with proper credit. High-resolution pictures are available upon request.
“…Indeed, a recent story in the Economist noted that many of these land deals seem to be aimed above all at the water rights that go with the land; it quotes the chairman of Nestlé referring to them as ‘the great water grab’.”
Agrarian Crisis, Mega-Dams and the Environment
Since we tend to take water for granted, it is almost always a bad sign when it is in the news; and lately there has been all too much water-related news from some of Asia’s most populous nations. The stories have ranged from the distressingly familiar—suicides of drought-hit Indian farmers—to the surprising: evidence that pressure from water in the reservoir behind the new Zipingpu dam may have triggered the massive Sichuan earthquake in May 2008, for example.  Meanwhile glaciers, which almost never used to make the news, are now generating plenty of worrisome headlines.
For almost half the world’s population, water-related dreams and fears intersect in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan plateau. Other regions have their share of conflicting claims over water issues: Turkey, Syria and Iraq over the headwaters of the Tigris; Israel and its neighbours around the Jordan basin; the US and Mexico over the Colorado River; the riparian states of the Paraguay, the Parana or the Nile. But none combine the same scale of population, scarcity of rainfall, dependence on agriculture, scope for mega-dam projects and vulnerability to climate change as those at stake within the greater Himalayan region.
Today at the park, around Noon, an ambulance (and fire truck!) was called for a little girl. Apparently, she fainted due to dehydration. It can happen much more quickly for kids than for adults. So, make good use of the water fountain (or water balloons – several kids were drinking from those) while at the playground and park.
VESTA (Vancouver Elem. School Teachers Assoc.) has recommended to trustees that the Vancouver Board of Education ban the sale of bottled water in Vancouver schools, and for the Board to ensure free safe drinking water access at all worksites.
Global trade will become more of an economic force in this century than ever before. But the United States, the dominant player in global trade, must improve the way it formalizes trade with other countries. Depending on the details of agreements, trade can create prosperity or poverty in developing nations, and it can limit or expand manufacturing here. Continue reading →