After years of subtle and not so subtle warnings by scientists and environmental activists, the water situation in California has hit a state of crisis, with a real and present danger of running out of fresh aquifer water within a year.
According to a news report from NASA released this week, the state will be out of water in about a year due to drought, coupled with the unbridled drawing of fresh spring water from the aquifers that feed the state and its crops.
While a strict water use ration has been in place to curtail usage by its citizens, and farmers are losing their crops, Nestlé is making money hand over fist from draining untold millions of gallons from at least 10 fresh water springs across the state to sell under their label – and paying only $0.14 per gallon to do so.
According to water protectors, “Nestlé’s Sacramento water plant is sucking water at a rate of 50 million gallons of water each year from the city’s water reserves, and that’s just one of the billion dollar company’s five bottling plants in California.”
A new investigation shows that Nestlé Water’s permit to transport water across the San Bernardino National Forest for bottling expired 27 years ago, but corporate lobbying has protected the mega company from any liability.
“More than 80% of the world’s almonds and nearly half of the USA’s and Canada’s fruits and vegetables come from California. As crops sit withering on the vine and tens of thousands of farm workers lose their livelihoods, it’s a travesty that precious water is being bottled and sold for profit instead of feeding our crops,” says a media release from the environmental watchdog group known as SumOfUs.
Canada’s vast fresh water supply is in danger from Nestlé and other water bottling firms, as well as from mining companies. The fracking process of extracting hard to reach low-grade bitumen oil draws and irreparably pollutes millions of gallons of fresh water every day and is being allowed to do so with Harper’s blessing.
According to Reuters columnist Antony Currie, “Nestlé is under fire in British Columbia for paying only $2.25 for every million liters of water it withdraws from local sources. Yet the provincial government sets the price and until this year charged nothing. The rates are also far higher in Quebec, which charges $70, and Nova Scotia, where the price is $140. Nonetheless, 132,000 people have signed an online petition demanding the government stop allowing Nestlé to take water on the cheap.”