Bottling Michigan’s Water

After watching the movie in class on Thursday I  became interested in Nestle and how they obtain water for their bottling plant in Michigan.  The movie talked about how residents were upset about the amount of spring water that Nestles was pumping from the aquifer.  Nestle was pumping anywhere from 100 to 300 gallons per minute from an aquifer in Mecosta County and pumping the water 11 miles to their bottling facility, where the water was bottled and shipped throughout the Midwest.  Residents of the area became worried about the effect of pumping such large quantities would have on the local ecosystems.  Michigan is know for the Great Lakes and rivers where people fish and hunt, so the fear of losing this identity led the people of Mecosta County and the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation to file a lawsuit trying to stop the pumping of water.

It is a difficult situation because Michigan has few regulations relating to the use of groundwater, it is pretty much owned by whose ever property it is on.  “Ice Mountain(who is owned by Nestle) paid $75 – $85 to the state for a permit application fee and with that it can gain billions by selling the water.” (Howard)  Howard also notes that in Michigan’s law, a resident can make “reasonable use” of the water on their property, but the water can’t be diverted.  So the residents of Mecosta County were trying to argue that Nestle is diverting the water by selling it across the Midwest.  “The lawsuit cites studies finding that pumping 400 gallons a minute will reduce the flow of water in lakes and streams fed by the spring; in Dead stream by a half inch during the summer and in Thompson Lake by two and a quarter inches.” (Lydersen)  At first look a couple inches might seem very small, but the ecosystems in the area are very fragile and continued pumping could lead to potentially permanent damage.

Michael Schork

Sources:

http://www.indiaresource.org/issues/water/2003/bottledwaterblues.html

http://stopnestlewaters.org/communities/mecosta-county-mi

www.justice4michigan.org/files/hfp_nestle_case.pdf

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One response

  1. After watching that movie in class I was bothered by it. It doesn’t seem right that Nestle pays that little and makes that much off of selling us something that’s already ours. Maybe placing a Nestle company in MI helped create jobs, I don’t know, but that still doesn’t seem like a big enough reason to be basically scammed out of billions of dollars that we’re not getting back. It’s like a Mosquito on your skin, it found an easy way onto your skin and takes blood from you and gives nothing in return, but leaves you with a red bump that itches like hell. However, a mosquito bite usually doesn’t leave a permanent mark. Permanent damage to Michigan’s water system, anywhere, doesn’t sit well with me. If Nestle can make billions of dollars taking water and purifying it and bottling and selling it back then Michigan itself can do the same thing. Thus creating far more jobs throughout MI and finding a safer way to use water and not leave dried up creek beds or rivers.

    Jeremy Sutton

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