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WATER

Why Water Bottlers Are Bad


for Your Community
Fact Sheet • October 2009

C ompanies that want to make billions of dollars selling bottled water are looking
for new sources of water and new sites to build their plants — and they may be
coming to your town next. Multinational corporations may promise benefits to the
area, but they will probably fail to mention the reasons that many communities are
fighting to keep water bottlers away from their homes. Here are six reasons why:

1. Watersheds suffer 5. Less local control


Pumping groundwater can cause underground water As multinational bottled water corporations like Nestlé
levels to drop, along with water levels in nearby wells, put their straws in aquifers, local communities have
streams, lakes and wetlands. This can mean less water less control over water resources in their own backyard.
for drinking, fishing, recreation and other uses. In Me- Pumping decisions reside in a far-off board room. If a cor-
costa County, Michigan, water levels in a nearby stream poration gains access to a town’s water rights, residents
dropped when Nestlé built a water bottling plant. In may not be able to access local water in times of drought.
McCloud, California, a community group feared that a
bottling plant would put their historic fisheries at risk. 6. There’s no turning back
Once bottled water companies set up shop in a town,
2. Hidden costs to community they are very difficult to get rid of, even if local residents
While the company profits, the community pays for the want them to leave. In Michigan, a community group has
negative side effects of the industry. For example, in- battled for years to shut down a Nestlé plant, to no avail.
creased heavy truck traffic can cause wear and tear on In McCloud, Nestlé wanted a contract to access commu-
local roads that towns must pay to fix. Towns can also nity water for 100 years.
lose money from tourism revenues if bottling plants make
their previously pleasant location less attractive to visit. Take Action
Contact Food & Water Watch for information on how to
3. Noisy neighbors keep your local water resources safe from water bottling.
Water bottlers specifically target new sources of water in You can also read more about community experiences
rural areas. They bring with them trucks, traffic, noise with water bottling in Food & Water Watch’s reports,
and pollution that can affect the quality of life in these including All Bottled Up: Nestlé’s Pursuit of Community
communities. In Hollis, Maine, truck traffic nearly dou- Water; Take Back the Tap: Why choosing tap water over
bled when Poland Springs opened a plant, and residents bottled water is better for your health, your pocketbook
reported crashes, speeding violations and noise keeping and the environment; and The Unbottled Truth About
them up at night. Plants can operate at all hours of the Bottled Water Jobs, available at www.foodandwater-
day, with trucks coming and going every few minutes. watch.org.

4. Poor jobs
For more information:
Companies that want to bottle water try to sell their
web: www.foodandwaterwatch.org
plants to local officials by promising jobs. But bottled
email: info@fwwatch.org
water plants often supply only a couple dozen jobs, many
phone: (202) 683-2500 (DC) • (415) 293-9900 (CA)
of which do not go to local community members. They
also pay, on average, less than similar manufacturing jobs
Copyright © October 2009 Food & Water Watch
— by as much as $10,000 a year.