Nestle is a company who cares deeply about California’s water crisis. If the corporation did not care, they most certainly would not be sucking out 80 million gallons of water a year from local aquifers, then selling it back in plastic bottles at an astronomical price inflation. Wait a second, this means that Nestle dredges up tap water from aquifers in Sacramento, at 65 cents per 470 gallons of water, and sells it back after repackaging for well over a dollar per 16 ounces. Yup, that’s caring.
Willy Wonka built a chocolate factory because he loved sweets and children, but not in a Michael Jackson way. Wonka wanted nothing more than to take the best ingredients and produce the best candy possible at prices cheap enough that all children could enjoy them. Now imagine if that chocolate factory instead of giving discolored dwarfs a place to live, was really a corporation that would take chocolate from a public resource, repackage it, then sell it back to the public who supplied said chocolate at 20 times the cost. To some this seems like the tactics of an “evil corporation”, to the residents of California it is the situation being faced in dealing with the company of Nestle. This is no fairy tale starring little orange men who sing, it is reality.
California is currently experiencing a fourth year of extreme drought, with no hope in sight. Recently scientists have alerted the world to the fact that the state literally has enough water to sustain their population for one year. Unfortunately this is a situation that not even the “Governator” could have solved with his muscles and foreign accent. There does not appear to be a solution for their crisis currently, and a company who rivals Monsanto in the greed department is not backing down. Nestle is a corporation who truly appears to care about the water crisis.
Though many love the taste of the Nestle Crunch bar, and feel Perrier is a wonderfully clean bottled product, the company itself shows little sign of halting their bottled water production. New watering restrictions have been put in place throughout the sunshine state letting celebrities lawns grow as yellow as the common man’s, but Nestle keeps pumping away. Public interest groups are demanding that Nestle either pay rates that commensurate with their grossly inflated profits or shut down production of bottled water until the state is no longer in a state of emergency.
Hindering any further progress in the matter is Governor Jerry Brown, the person whose job it is above all others to help the state he governs. Brown is still attempting to divert Sacramento river water to fuel fracking operations, corporate agriculture businesses, and companies such as Nestle. Jay Famiglietti, the senior water scientist for NASA stated, “California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought such as the drought occurring now (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except staying in emergency mode and praying for rain.” Brown’s $67 billion plan shows that not a single drop of new water will be produced by implementing these plans. It seems to some that Brown’s intentions have more to do with money than helping his people.
The Earth is more than three-quarters water, as is the human body. Despite this, Nestle’s CEO Peter Brabeck, believes that “humans do not have a right to water.” He also is adamant that the recent “Organic movement” is unfounded, and no harm can come from products made with Genetically Modified Organisms (otherwise known as GMO’s). When the CEO of one of the biggest corporations in the world tells people that what they are made of is not something they have a right to, the true colors of such organizations shine through brilliantly.
Luckily, minds greater and more honest than Brabeck’s are hard at work in attempting to help solve California’s water crisis. However, when local governments continue to allow corporations such as his to take public water for cents on the dollar and sell it back to the public for hundreds of times more money, a viable solution to this water emergency seems out of reach. Nestle truly cares about California’s horrible crisis, and if the public does too than maybe drinking from the tap instead of buying a bottle of Perrier is a classy way to show it, being that the only difference between the two is that Perrier comes in a bottle.
By Benjamin Johnson
Photo by QQ Li – Flickr License